Lentils are one the first food cooked by the human being of which there are written records dating back to about 4000 years ago. The ancient Egyptians first cultivated this precious food, used by the nomadic peoples. Since ancient times, lentil is one of the most important foods in agriculture.
In the Middle Ages, the nobles avoided the consumption of lentils that were served mainly in convents and among humble but cultured people who appreciated the value of lentil: a simple dish that nourishes and is cheap.
In modern cuisine, especially in the Mediterranean diet, lentils and all legumes/pulses, play a fundamental role. A precious source of vegetable protein, they are also are very versatile.
In this recipe, they replace the meat in a delicious vegan sauce that recalls Bolognese pasta.
2 carrots, finely chopped
1 celery stalk, finely chopped
1 onion, finely chopped
250 g (9 oz) lentils, rinsed
250 ml (9 fl oz) tomato sauce
500 ml (17 fl oz) warm water
300 g (101/2 oz) pasta (long or short, to your liking)
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Pinch of sea salt
White pepper, to taste
- Heat the oil in a thick-bottomed pan. Add the carrot, celery, onion and stir. Cover with a lid and cook until the vegetables are soft.
- Add the lentils to the vegetables. Add the tomato sauce and cover with hot water. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat to low and leave to simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Towards the end of cooking, add salt and pepper. Cook the pasta al dente in a large saucepan of boiling salted water. Drain. Add the pasta to the pan with the lentils.
- Mix well and serve still warm.