Lentils & chard pasta

This is  my new winter pasta recipe that has become a slight obsession in our household because it’s so damn good. The original recipe comes from an amazing San Francisco vegetarian restaurant called The Greens. I have changed a couple of things to make it into a Lucie dish.

LUCIE’s UPDATES:
1 ) I use regular pasta or noodles, not buckwheat or wholewheat, just because that felt too heavy to me. I like linguine or any tube shape pasta, so the hollow part catches all the lentil goodness inside.
2) I enjoy an extra bunch of chard in mine, just because I’m chard crazy like that. I also use some of the stems cut up fine to add extra vegetables and texture.
3) If you like garlic like me, don’t be afraid to double the amount for your recipe.
4) It will save you time to use ready-made lentils rather than making them from scratch. I use the vacuum sealed ready-to-eat lentils from Trader Joe’s. If you do that, add them in later than the rest of the vegetables. The ready-to-eat lentils only need about 15 mins in the pot at the very end.
5) And last thing that I find makes a difference for me is adding quite a bit of stock at the end making sure that you do have some sauce at the bottom of the veggies before you mix in the pasta.

ORIGINAL RECIPE

8 ounces of soba noodles or buckwheat pasta
1/2 cup French lentils
1 bay leaf
1/4 teaspoon salt
Few spoonfuls virgin olive oil
Pepper
1 bunch red or green chard
6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 medium carrots, cut into 1/4-inch squares
1 celery stalk, cut into 1/4-inch squares
1 or 2 leeks (about 5 ounces), white parts only, finely chopped
Water of vegetable stock
1 tablespoon parsley, chopped
Parmesan

If you are making your own pasta, prepare the past dough and set it aside to rest. Then roll it out and cut it into strips 1/8 inch wide. Bring a large pot of water to a boil.

Sort and rinse the lentils well, then cover them generously with water and bring them to a boil with the bay leaf and the salt. Cook at a slow boil until they are tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Be careful not to overcook them or they will lose their shape and texture. Drain them and save the liquid for soup stock. Toss the lentils with a little olive oil. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper, and set them aside.

Cut the chard leaves away from the stems, wash them well, and slice the leaves into strips about 1 inch wide. Save the stems to cook by themselves or to use in stock.

Slowly warm 4 tablespoons of the olive oil in skillet or saute pan with the garlic and cook for about 1 minute, taking care that the garlic doesn’t color. Add the lentils, carrots, celery, and leeks, and stir to coat them with oil. Cook for 1 minute over medium heat with a sprinkling of salt; then pour in 3/4 cup water or stock and add the chard. Stew until the vegetables are tender and the liquid evaporates, add more so that there will be a little sauce at the end.

When the vegetables are done, salt the boiling water and cook the noodles; then scoop them out and add them to the vegetables. Toss everything together, add the parsley, and season with freshly ground pepper. Serve the noodles and spoon the remaining olive oil over the top. Finish with a handful of grated Parmesan cheese.

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