Lentils and Ditalini with Parsley-Mint Pesto

INGREDIENTS:

(Serves 4 to 6)

Pesto

  • 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 2 shallots, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon pine nuts
  • ¼ cup flat-leaf parsley
  • ¼ cup mint leaves
  • ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

Lentils and Ditalini

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 celery rib, finely chopped
  • ¾ cup small French green lentils
  • 1 ½ cups low-sodium chicken broth plus more if needed
  • ¾ cup ditalini or orzo pasta
  • ½ cup frozen peas, thawed
  • 2 scallions, sliced ½” thick on a diagonal
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

METHOD:

Pesto

  • Combine the garlic, shallots, pine nuts, parsley, mint, salt, plenty of pepper, and olive oil in a small food processor. Blend until smooth.
  • Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. Stir in the lemon juice just before serving.

Lentils

  • Heat the oil over medium-low heat in a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan. Add the celery and sauté until tender.
  • Add the lentils and stir to coat them with oil.
  • Add the broth; the lentils should be covered by liquid. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat, partially cover the pan, and simmer gently for 25 to 30 minutes, until the lentils are tender buy firm.
  • Drain if necessary and let stand, uncovered, for 5 minutes
  • Meanwhile, bring a medium pot of generously salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook according to package directions until al dente.
  • One minute before the pasta is done, stir in the peas. When the pasta is ready, use a spider to lift the pasta and peas out of the water and add to the lentils, allowing the water drippings from the pasta to fall into the pan.
  • Stir in the pesto, scallions, and lemon zest. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  • Serve warm or at room temperature.

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