Modified from Recipe courtesy Food Network Magazine
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
5 tablespoons extravirgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling ½ onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, smashed
¼ to ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons tomato sauce (please see recipe here)
2 cups lowsodium chicken broth (1 litre of water with 1 chicken cube)
½ cup grated parmesan cheese, plus 1 piece cheese rind (optional)
1 ½ cup of orecchiette or other small pasta
2 (300g) cans lentils (1 undrained; 1 drained and rinsed)
1/3 cup roughly chopped fresh parsley
Kosher salt / Sea salt
Crusty bread, for serving (optional)
Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat.
Add the onion, garlic and red pepper flakes and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is slightly soft, about 2 minutes.
Remove 1 tablespoon of the flavored oil and set aside. Add the tomato sauce and cook, stirring, 2 more minutes.
Add the chicken broth, 4 cups water and the cheese rind, if using.
Bring to a boil, then add the pasta and cook, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes.
Add the lentils (Click here to see nutritional value) along with the liquid from one of the cans; reduce the heat to medium low and simmer until the pasta is tender, 10 to 12 more minutes.
Meanwhile, whisk 1 tablespoon parsley and 1 tablespoon water into the reserved flavored oil.
Stir ¼ cup parmesan and the remaining parsley into the soup; remove the cheese rind (if using) and add salt to taste.
Ladle into bowls; drizzle with the flavored oil and
top with the remaining ¼ cup parmesan. Serve with bread, if desired.