Lentils are delicious by themselves, or with vegetables, fish, or meat. This dish has the elements to make a complete meal—pasta, legumes, and shrimp. Just be sure not to overcook the shrimp, and to add the cooked ditalini just before serving, or the pasta will become mushy.
- 2 cups of ditalini
- 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 cup chopped onion
- 6 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
- 1 cup peeled, chopped carrot
- 1 cup chopped celery
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- One 28-ounce can whole San Marzano tomatoes, crushed by hand
- 8 ounces dried lentils, rinsed and drained
- 1 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley
Cook the ditalini in salted water, leaving it al dente. Drain and reserve the cooking water to add to the lentils.
In a large soup pot, over medium heat, heat 4 tablespoons of the olive oil. Once the oil is hot, add the onion and garlic. Cook until the onion begins to soften, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add the carrot and celery, and cook until softened, about 5 minutes.
Season with the salt, and add the tomatoes and 6 cups of water. Cover, bring to a simmer, and cook until slightly thickened and flavorful, about 30 minutes.
Add the lentils, and continue simmering until they are tender, about 30 minutes. (You may need to add another cup or so of water, if the pan seems dry and the lentils are not getting tender.)
When the lentils are done, stir in the shrimp, and simmer until they are just cooked through, only 2 or 3 minutes. Stir in the cooked ditalini, the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil, and the chopped parsley, bring all to a boil, and serve.