Nan's Italian Lentil Soup

Susan from Food Blogga

Makes 4 servings.

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
2 carrots, diced
1/2 cup lentils, brown or black*
2 bay leaves
4-5 cups water (depending on your desired soupiness)
1 8-oz can tomato sauce or diced tomatoes with juice
A good shake of red pepper flakes
Salt, to taste
About 2 Tbsp of chopped fresh basil
About 2 Tbsp of chopped fresh parsley
Some good Reggiano-Parmigiano and quality extra virgin olive oil

Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion; sauté until golden. Add celery and carrots; cook 3-5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add lentils, bay leaves, and water; bring to a slow rolling boil for 15-20 minutes or until lentils are tender. If the lentils are absorbing too much of the liquid, then simply add more water. Once they are just about done, lower the heat to a simmer, and stir in the tomato sauce, red pepper flakes, and salt.

Remove the pan from the heat. And remove the bay leaves before serving! Add the fresh herbs now so they will retain their bright green color and fresh flavor. Top with lots of good grated cheese, and drizzle some quality extra virgin olive oil on top. Makes 2 bowls or 4 cups.

*TIP: I love Trader Joe’s black lentils. They have an earthier flavor and don’t break down as easily as brown lentils. They also create a thicker soup perfect for clinging to a nice piece of crusty Italian bread. Mmm.