Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Red Lentil Pasta Sauce

Last night we decided to go meatless for dinner.  I had found beautiful red lentils and Greek #2 spaghetti ( like bucatini) at the Mediterranean market near my house. The red lentils are packed with protein and become very creamy when cooked in the sauce.  I served this with some thawed frozen garlic bread topped with sauteed spinach and garlic, sprinkled with mozzarella and then baked in the oven at 400F for 10 to 15 minutes.

1 stalk celery, roughly chopped
1 carrot , roughly chopped
1 medium onion, roughly chopped
1/4 green pepper, chopped
5 cloves garlic
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
3 Tbl olive oil
2 tsp Italian seasoning
1 cup dry red lentils
1  28 ounce can good Italian plum tomatoes
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
3 - 4 cups water
1/2 cup minced parsley
5 or 6 sliced fresh basil leaves
Parmesan for garnish ( optional) 

Place the celery, carrot, onion, green pepper and garlic in the bowl of a food processor and process until very fine.
In a dutch oven or soup pot saute the vegetable mixture in the olive oil until soft and fragrant.
Add the red pepper, salt , black pepper, and Italian seasoning and stir for a minute or two over the heat
Add the lentils.  Crush the tomatoes with your hands and add them along with their juice.
Add 3 cups of the water, bring to a boil and simmer for about 30 minutes.
Check after 30 minutes..If the mixture seems too thick, add another cup of water and simmer another 15 minutes or so. Simmer a few more minutes even if you don't add the extra water.
Just before serving, stir in the parsley and basil.
Serve over your favorite pasta.

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