Pasta with Lentils
Pasta e Lenticchie

*required fields

thank you!
Thank you for e-mailing a recipe to your friend.
home or Register

recipes  /  Pasta with Lentils this recipe: Print
Pasta with Lentils
Pasta e Lenticchie
cookbook: Lidia's Italy in America
user comments (0)

serves: about 3 quarts

Legumes are a big part of the culinary tradition in Italy, and they found a place in Italian American homes as well. Almost every Italian American I spoke with wanted to share a memory of his or her favorite lentil dish. Legumes, especially lentils, deliver a lot of flavor, plus nutritional and economical value, and everyone could afford them. The immigrants ate them a lot, and they are still a favorite in Italian American kitchens. Pasta and beans, pasta e fagioli—or, as Italian Americans call it, pasta fazool—is a traditional meatless Italian dish, although it usually refers to white beans, such as cannellini or borlotti. Pasta fazool probably came from Neapolitan immigrants, derived from the Neapolitan word for beans, fazul. The recipe below is a soup consisting of lentils and pasta, but you can turn it into a dry pasta dish instead of a soup by adding only 5 to 6 cups of water. Or even make the lentils as a vegetable dish by eliminating the 4 cups of water and omitting the ditalini. The pancetta is added for flavor, but to make the soup vegetarian, omit the pancetta and start with the onion.


2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
6 ounces pancetta
1 medium onion, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
1 large carrot, peeled and shredded
2 fresh bay leaves
1 cup canned San Marzano whole tomatoes, hand-crushed
2 cups brown lentils, rinsed and drained
8 cups water
1 tablespoon kosher salt
8 ounces ditalini
grated Grana Padano or Parmigiano-Reggiano, for serving


Pour 2 tablespoons olive oil into a large Dutch oven and heat over medium heat. Cut the pancetta into ¼-inch strips and add them. Cook until they begin to render fat, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add the onion, celery, carrot, and bay leaves. Cook until wilted, about 5 minutes. Add crushed tomatoes and bring to a simmer. Cook until thickened, about 10 minutes. Once it’s thickened, add lentils, water, and the tablespoon of salt. Bring to a simmer, cover, and cook until lentils are just tender, about 30 minutes. Add the ditalini, and cook, covered, until pasta is al dente, about 8 minutes. Serve with a drizzle of olive oil and some grated cheese

This recipe is from Lidia’s newest book, Lidia’s Italy in America, which was released in October.

Add To Cart

Food Books and Dvds Tableware

Lidia's Commonsense Italian Cooking
Lidia brings viewers on a road trip into the heart of Italian-American cooking.
buy now ›
read more ›

Enjoy Lidia's pastas and sauces!
buy now ›

Lidia's Stoneware Collection

buy now ›

Sign up now for access to
recipes, tips, and more!

Becoming a member of the Community Table is easy and free!
Please fill out the required fields below.
*required fields

sign in information
about you

Welcome to the Community Table. Please sign in to
access your recipe box, photos, discussions,
and personal settings.

Forgot password?
Not a member? Join now!