Lentil and Escarole Soup
5 years old! I’m posting a few days late since Italicious’s birthday was on the 15th. When I started this in our little apartment in Rome with a simple cuttlefish pasta, I would have never thought that I would still be here 5 years later, photographing my every move in the kitchen and constantly searching for new ideas to write about. Of course I have been lagging these past few months, but I am making something much greater in my belly and I will soon return to the market, the kitchen and with my nose behind the camera.
This lovely lentil soup was the perfect meal for fall weather, lots of protein, folic acid and greens, it was even a hit with our 3 year old. I served it on top of a frisella, which is a hard bread which resembles a bagel, baked and then sliced in half and baked again to gain its hard crunch. Very Pugliese.
Lentil and Escarole Soup
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 1 large or 2 small carrots, cut in small dice
- 3 to 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 14-ounce can chopped tomatoes, with juice; or 3/4 pound tomatoes, seeded and grated
- 1 cup lentils, washed and picked over
- A bouquet garni made with a bay leaf, a few sprigs each thyme and parsley, and a Parmesan rind
- 6 cups water
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1 small head escarole, washed and roughly chopped (about 6 cups)
Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil over medium heat in a large soup pot or Dutch oven. Add the onion and carrots. Cook, stirring often, until the onion is tender, about five minutes. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes. Cook, stirring, until the garlic is fragrant, 30 seconds to a minute. Stir in the tomatoes. Bring to a simmer, and cook, stirring, until the tomatoes have cooked down slightly and smell fragrant, five to 10 minutes. Add the lentils and simmer with the tomato mixture for a few minutes, then add the bouquet garni and the water. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and add salt to taste (1 to 2 teaspoons). Cover and simmer 30 minutes.
Add the escarole, and bring back to a simmer. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes until the escarole and the lentils are tender. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Remove the bouquet garni.
Toast slices of country bread if desired and rub with a cut clove of garlic. Place a slice in each bowl, ladle in the soup and serve.
Yield: Serves four to six.
Three Years Ago: Frittura di Funghi Porcini