Pasta with Lentils, Arugula, and Caramelized Onions

By Ira


This is an easy, light and delicious meal. I used Orecchiette but you can use other pasta shapes such as fusilli or farfalle.

Adapted from Everyday Food – Great Food Fast

Serves 6 (or 4 hungry people)

  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil / butter
  • 2 large onions, halved and thinly sliced (about 4 cups)
  • 12 ounces plum tomatoes, cored and diced (about 2 cups)
  • 3/4 cup lentils, picked over and rinsed
  • 12 ounces orecchiette or other pasta (this is 3/4 of a lb of pasta)
  • 4 cups baby arugula (the rest of the arugula will be used as a salad during the week)
  • 1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving if you like
  • salt and pepper

Start by heating the oil or butter in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add the thinly sliced onions and 1/2 tspn salt.

Stir, then cover and cook until the onions wilt about 10 minutes (this depends on how hot your skillet is).

Uncover, raise the heat to medium and cook stirring from time to time until the onions are lightly browned, about 10-15 minutes.

Add 1/4 cup of water and stir wit a wooden spoon to loosen any browned bits from the pan.

Add the tomatoes and stir, then immediately remove from the heat.

Meanwhile, while the onions are cooking, add the lentils to a medium saucepan, and cover with water by 1 inch.

Bring to a simmer, then cover and cook until the lentils are tender. This takes about 15-20 minutes depending on the type of lentils you use. Be careful, you don’t want them mushy.

Drain the lentils and stir into the onion/tomato mixture.

Add a generous amount of salt and pepper. Taste the mixture at this stage to see if it needs extra salt / pepper (I like extra pepper on mine).

Meanwhile, while the onions and the lentils are cooking, bring a large pot of water to boil, add a generous amount of salt, then add the pasta and cook according to package directions.

When done, reserve 1 cup of the pasta water,

then drain the pasta, and return it to the pot.

Add the lentil mixture, most of the pasta water, arugula, and cheese to the pot.

Gently toss and taste to check the seasonings. Add more salt and pepper if it needs it or more pasta water. When serving, you can sprinkle it with more cheese if you like.


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