- 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
- 1/2 onion, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, smashed
- 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
- 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese, plus 1 piece cheese rind (optional)
- 8 ounces orecchiette or other small pasta
- 2 14-ounce cans lentils (1 undrained; 1 drained and rinsed)
- 1/3 cup roughly chopped fresh parsley
- Kosher salt
- Crusty bread, for serving (optional)
Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic and red pepper flakes and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is slightly soft, about 2 minutes. Remove 1 tablespoon of the flavored oil and set aside. Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring, 2 more minutes. Add the chicken broth, 4 cups water and the cheese rind, if using. Bring to a boil, then add the pasta and cook, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes. Add the lentils along with the liquid from one of the cans; reduce the heat to medium low and simmer until the pasta is tender, 10 to 12 more minutes.
Meanwhile, whisk 1 tablespoon parsley and 1 tablespoon water into the reserved flavored oil. Stir 1/4 cup parmesan and the remaining parsley into the soup; remove the cheese rind (if using) and add salt to taste. Ladle into bowls; drizzle with the flavored oil and top with the remaining 1/4 cup parmesan. Serve with bread, if desired.
Per serving: Calories 675; Fat 29 g (Saturated 8 g); Cholesterol 48 mg; Sodium 918 mg; Carbohydrate 72 g; Fiber 17 g; Protein 30 g
Photograph by Antonis Achilleos