Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Italian Provencal Lentils and Pasta

It's been a long time since I've taken the time to write about what I'm cooking. First my excuse was work (too much, not at home enough to cook), then my excuse was time (spending it with the kids instead of at the computer), then my excuse was traveling (traveling means not cooking, right?). Enough excuses.

I got home from work in time to make dinner with the kids last night. I made a version of a lentil dish that I've been making regularly recently. I like lentils because they cook quickly and don't require me to remember to soak them the night before!

Here is a shot of last night's meal.

Unlike my previous versions of this dish, the lentils can stand alone. I've been making this dish with red lentils, making it much more of a sauce that coats the pasta and much less of a dish on its own. Making the dish with the green lentils totally changed it up. I also used only 1/2 cup of lentils last night; normally, I've been making the dish with 1+ cup. Next time I make the red lentil version, I'll post about it. (I made it the morning of our trip out to Cali, put it in to-go containers, added it to the diaper bag, and Jacqui and I ate it on the flight for lunch/dinner.)

1 T olive oil
1 red onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
3 carrots, peeled and chopped
1/2 cup dry green lentils, washed and picked over
2 cups water plus one low-salt vegan bouillon square -- or 2 cups vegetable brother if you have it
1 can diced tomatoes
2 tsp provencal spice blend
brown rice pasta

What to do
Set a pot of water (with salt or olive oil, as you like) to boil. This is for the pasta. When the water is boiling, add the pasta and stir to keep it from sticking together. The pasta I made said to boil for 1-2 minutes (I boiled it for 2 minutes), then turn the heat off and cover for 20 minutes. Worked well for me! (My family was recently on a gluten-free kick. On our trip to Maryland this past weekend, I inherited the left-over gluten-free booty, including this rice pasta from Tinkyada.)
Meanwhile, chop the onion, garlic, and carrot. Heat a deep pot over medium heat and add the olive oil. Add the onion and saute for a few minutes, until fragrant. Add the garlic and saute for 2 minutes more. Add the carrots, water plus bouillon/broth, spices, and lentils, and stir well. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer on lower heat for 15 minutes.
Uncover and add the can of tomatoes plus juices. Cook for another 20-30 minutes, until the lentils are tender enough for your taste. If you think it's too liquidy, just up the heat for a few minutes (don't let it burn!).
Serve by putting pasta in a bowl and spooning the lentils over top.

Adrianna fed herself (!) the pasta and lentils using her fingers and spoon. The tomato pieces were a little too large for her. Jacqui ate some of the lentils and pasta by herself, but then succumbed to the "Mommy, help me" routine. She ate up all the pasta and lentils in her bowl and would have eaten more had I given her a larger bowl. (I filled her bowl up to the top with food last night!) I ate up two (small) bowls pretty quickly myself...the second was accompanied by a glass of a new wine (Yellow + Blue malbec) I picked up to try -- vegan and organic and environmentally friendly Yellow + Blue. Dave's saving the lentil leftovers for the girls' dinner tonight.

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