When I want comfort food, I usually have the ingredients on hand to make this.This is the dish I requested most often when I came home to visit my parents, and it’s one of the recipes my mother actually did walk me through the steps so I would know what I was doing. (For background on my mother’s reluctance to ever write any recipe down, please read the Meatloaf post under Fork/Knife/Spoon). It’s flavorful, hearty, filling and very tasty, and with very simple ingredients, and very little effort involved. The leftovers are fantastic too!And I’m here to tell you, the key ingredient is the celery leaves. Yes, the celery leaves…and there’s no more mouth-watering aroma than the smell of the leaves and the onions, which form the base of the dish, simmering in good olive oilI’m proud to say my version of my Mom’s lentils and spaghetti comes pretty darn close to hers in flavor, no small thing considering how well she made this!Enjoy!LENTILS AND SPAGHETTI
1 small/medium yellow onion, chopped fine
1 stalk, chopped fine, plus a good fistful of celery leaves, chopped coarsely (the leaves are essential for full flavor of the dish)
1 tbs. garlic, finely chopped
One good glug of olive oil
Salt and pepper
1 1/2- 2 cups of brown or green lentils, washed and sorted
2 32 oz. containers of beef broth (I use low sodium)
1/2 to 3/4 package of Bucatini or thicker-style spaghetti (or use the spaghetti size you prefer)
Saute onion, chopped celery stalk, leaves and garlic in olive oil till softened and fragrant. Watch carefully so it doesn’t burn.
Add salt and pepper to taste.
Once vegetables are softened, add 2 containers of beef broth and the lentils.
Bring mixture to boil, then lower and simmer until lentils are cooked through. (You may need to add a bit more beef broth or water as lentils expand and soak up liquid. Mixture should be soupy, as this will be the “gravy” for your spaghetti)
Sometimes I add a dollop of beef stock, either homemade or store-bought (I use Knorr’s), to enhance flavor. You can also skip the beef broth/stock and use vegetarian broth if you do not eat meat, though I don’t know how it will change the flavo
Meanwhile, boil water for cooking pasta. Once it reaches a boil, add salt, then pasta. I use bucatini or thicker spaghetti to complement this recipe’s heartiness. Angel hair and thinner pasta really doesn’t stand up to the lentils and broth.
When pasta is done, drain and add to lentils and broth and combine. The mixture should be a bit soupy, but it’s your call.
Add additional salt and pepper to taste. This is just as good a day later, so leftovers are great to have. You may need to add additional water/stock when you reheat.
This recipe will serve four to six people, maybe more, depending on your serving size.