Lentils soup for a cold rainy day

There is something about the chilly air and crispness of days like this that makes me always long for soup. I love soup, especially the ones my mom used to make, a nice bowl of soup either with pasta or with fresh crusty bread.
It is a wonderful time of year to be home in the kitchen making soup and this recipe is so easy and so healthy.
You don’t need to be a really experienced cook; this soup can be easily prepared for a family dinner and is a perfect last minute meal idea.

It is so simple and yet so delicious…

Lentil Soup – Zuppa di Lenticche

Ingredients for 6-8 Servings
1 Lb. lentils rinsed
1 medium onion, chopped
3 celery stalks, chopped
2 large carrots, peeled and chopped
1 can (14/15 oz.) diced tomatoes with including juice
2 dry bay leaves
10 cups of low sodium broth (chicken, vegetable or beef)
3 Tbsp. olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
Salt and pepper as needed

* Optional:
Grated Parmesan or Romano cheese
8 ounces ditalini or other small pasta

Preparation:
Heat 3 Tbsp. of oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion, carrots, and celery and sauté until all the vegetables are tender, about 5 to 8 minutes. Add the tomatoes with juice, salt and pepper. Simmer until the juices evaporate, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes. Add the lentils, the broth and the bay leaves and stir. Bring to a boil; reduce the heat to low and simmer until the lentils are almost tender, about 35 minutes.
Ladle the soup into bowl, drizzle with olive oil. Serve with freshly ground black pepper and crusty bread.

*Pasta with Lentils: Once the lentils are cooked, stir in the pasta, adjust salt if needed, stir and let it simmer until the pasta is tender but still firm to the bite (some pasta takes longer to cook than others).
Ladle the soup into bowls and drizzle with olive oil. Serve with freshly ground black pepper and grated Parmesan or Romano cheese

Recipe courtesy of Lina Pulitano Waddell, 2016