Pasta butterflies with lentils
“This is my favourite soup. Lentils with home-made pasta make a creamy, hearty soup for cold days. The pasta can be made well ahead of time and frozen (a flat pizza box is the perfect container). The soup can also be made in advance – in fact, I suggest making a large batch. It keeps for a few days and you can always have it twice in one week, can’t you? If you can, use Puy or the Australian small lentils for this dish; they hold their shape and will not disintegrate during cooking.”
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 carrot, peeled and diced
1 small onion, peeled and diced
1 stick celery, diced
2 medium-sized potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
200 g Puy lentils
2 litres Golden Chicken Stock, warm
salt and pepper
200 g Egg Pasta
1 cup Italian-style tomato sauce
freshly grated parmesan
extra-virgin olive oil
Heat the butter and olive oil in a large pan and sauté the carrot, onion and celery until they soften. Add the potatoes and stir well.
Add the lentils and the warm stock and cook for about 25 minutes, or until the lentils are tender and the potatoes have broken down. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
While the soup is cooking, prepare the pasta butterflies. Divide the pasta dough into thirds and roll them out to about 2 mm thickness on a lightly floured work surface. Keep the pasta sheets under a damp cloth to prevent them drying out.
Use a crenulated ravioli cutter to cut the pasta into strips about 3 cm x 2 cm. With your thumb and index finger pinch each strip in the middle to create a butterfly (or bow tie) shape.
Cook the pasta butterflies in plenty of boiling salted water. When the lentils and potatoes are soft, add the tomato sauce – this enriches the soup.
Add the cooked pasta butterflies to the soup, which should now have a nice thick consistency. Serve with freshly grated cheese and a good drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil.