Umbrian Lentil Soup

Zuppa di Lenticchie da Castelluccio

Makes: 4-6 servings

  • Bellucci extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 thin slice pancetta, ½-inch dice
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled & smashed
  • ½ large onion, peeled, halved & diced
  • 2 small carrots, peeled, sliced and finely diced
  • 1 stalk celery, peeled, sliced and finely diced
  • 2 cups lentils preferably from Umbria
  • 4 plum tomatoes, cored and diced
  • 5 sprigs thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • salt and pepper for seasoning
  • 2 quarts chicken and/or vegetable stock,
  • Slices of toasted bread, optional
  • Grated parmegiano, optional

Coat the bottom of a soup pot with olive oil. Heat over medium heat.

Add pancetta and garlic and cook slowly until the pancetta renders its fat . This may take 5 minutes. Add onion, and continue cook until the onion has softened. Add carrots and celery, cooking until softened. Add lentils, and stir for 1 minute. Add tomatoes, thyme & bay leaf and stir again. Season lightly with salt and pepper.

Add stock and bring to a boil. Stir, lower the heat and simmer for about 45 minutes or until the lentils are softened but not mushy. Add salt and pepper to taste. Remove the thyme and bay leaves. Discard them because they have served their purpose. Serve with toasted bread ,a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and a sprinkling of grated parmegiano cheese.

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