Lentil and Potato Soup
Zuppa di lenticchie e patate
Adapted from recipes by Ursula Ferrigno in her book “Truly Italian – quick and simple vegetarian cooking” and by Valentina Harris in her book: “The Italian Regional Cookbook”.
“Here is a typical, simple rustic dish from the Abruzzo region (of Italy) that is bursting with flavour. A good helping of olive oil gives richness to the combination of lentils and vegetables – and enjoy it on its own with some crusty bread and a good bottle of red wine. Some types of lentils need to be soaked before they are cooked, so ensure you check the instructions.” Valentina Harris
“This brings back a rush of family and childhood memories. It smells so enticing, and its texture is wonderful. The Italians traditionally eat lentils at New Year because they represent money and prosperity, therefore potential success in the coming year. The best to use are the lenticchie cli Norcia, tiny green lentils which are expensive because they are hand-picked. They are also considered holy because they grow in the sacred land near Assisi.” Ursula Ferrigno
Lentils are 50 per cent carbohydrate, high in fibre, and 25 per cent protein; they also contain a good quantity of iron.
Ingredients: Serves 4
- 10 new potatoes, preferably Italian, washed and scrubbed
- 200g green beans, trimmed and cut in half
- 1 carrot, finely diced
- 1 celery stick, finely diced
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 1 x vegetarian vegetable stock gel pot
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 x 400g can (265g dry weight) of green lentils
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 700g of tomato passata OR 2 x 400g cans Italian chopped tomatoes
- 2 large garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
- 55g freshly grated vegetarian pecorino cheese (optional)
- a handful of fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
- Cut the potatoes into even-sized cubes without removing the skins.
- Add 1 litre of water to a stock pan and add the vegetable stock gel. Bring to the boil and add ½ tps of salt, the potatoes and the green beans and stir thoroughly. Cook on a medium heat for 10 minutes. Stir occasionally.
- Heat the oil in a large frying pan and add the carrot, celery, and onion and a pinch of salt. Cook over a low heat, stirring constantly, for 5-7 minutes.
- Rinse the lentils under running water and drain. Add the lentils, olive oil, carrot, celery, onion mix from the pan, tomato passata or chopped tomatoes, pepper and crushed garlic to the stock pan. Bring to the boil, then cover and simmer for 20 minutes. Stir frequently. After 10 minutes cooking time add the chopped flat leaf parsley and a pinch of salt and stir. Turn off the heat and allow to rest for 10 minutes.
- Tips and serving suggestions: Serve into warm bowls.
Produced by John Fletcher at http://www.johnstastesofitaly.com