Cold and rainy (or snowy) days call for hearty and warm foods that warm you up from the inside out. This savory pasta dish, which is a twist on an Italian favorite, Pasta Fazool, was a winner with my meat eating men. Picture penne pasta and lentils swimming in a delicious hot broth, flavored with tomatoes, garlic, onions and the zing of red pepper flakes. I served each bowl with a pinch of parmesan and chopped parsley. Plus its a One Pot Meal!
This is technically not Pasta Fazool, or pasta e fagiole, which means pasta with beans. Lentils are actually a legume not a bean, so the technical name would be Pasta e Lenticchie which is way less fun to say and why I call it a twist on a classic. You can make it more traditionally by using two cans of white beans, drained and added in place of the lentils, if you wish. Both are delicious options. Pasta Fazool is usually more soupy than your typical plate of pasta but it can be made as wet or dry as you wish. To make it more of a soup, just add more water when you add the pasta or even more before serving if too much liquid has evaporated. If you are using broth to start, adding more water shouldn’t diminish the flavor.
The parmesan cheese is optional as a topping but I want to share a new vegan parmesan cheese that I find is just as good as the real thing. I found myself eating slices of it while cooking. I mean someone had to taste it. 🙂 This Just Like Parmesan by Violife contains no dairy, soy, gluten, lactose or nut products. So what is it made from? Well, mostly a combination of potato and rice starch, rice protein, coconut oil and sea salt, including Vitamin B12. As Violife says, “Delizioso”!
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
1/4 -3/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup brown lentils, rinsed
1 can diced or crushed tomatoes
1 tsp fresh thyme
4 cups vegetable broth or water
8 ounces pasta (such as ziti or penne)
1 tablespoon flat-leaf parsley, chopped (optional)
parmesan cheese, grated (optional) *Check out Violife Vegan Soy*
- In a large saucepan or dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and some of the red pepper flakes, and cook, stirring often until soft and transluscent, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute.
- Add the tomatoes, thyme and broth and bring to a boil. Taste and add salt and pepper and more red pepper flakes, to taste.
- Add the lentils, reduce the heat to medium low and simmer with the lid slightly ajar, until the lentils are almost tender, 20 minutes.
- Increase heat to medium and add one or two cups of water along with the pasta and simmer, uncovered, stirring often so that the pasta doesn’t stick to the bottom, until the pasta is al dente, 10 to 12 minutes. Add water if necessary. The end result should be a bit soupy, unless you prefer it more pasta-like.
- Divide the pasta among serving bowls and garnish with the parsley and parmesan, if desired.