Recipe based on Lentil burgers and Giallo Zafferano
time: about 1 hour
- 250 g (1/2 lb) spaghetti
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
- 3 Tablespoons olive oil
- 750 ml (about 3 cups) tomato sauce (passata di pomodoro)
- 1 Tablespoon tomato concentrate
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- pepper to taste
- 1 cup (200 g) dry lentils, cooked in unsalted water and drained
- 1 Tablespoon parsley, finely chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika in powder
- 1/8 teaspoon pepper
- about 3 Tablespoon bread crumbs, quantity depending on the wetness of the lentils
- 2 Tablespoons grated Parmesan
- 1 medium egg
- 3 Tablespoons olive oil
- Prepare balls: In a medium bowl, mash lentils (not hot) with a fork (or in a food processor). Add spices, parsley, bread crumbs and cheese. Adjust seasoning before adding the egg. Let the mass rest in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. With your hands, form cherry-size balls. On a large skillet on medium/high, heat oil. Add balls (20 at the time in my case) and sauté for about 6 minutes, shaking and moving the pan constantly, till brown crust forms. Remove from the pan and place ready balls on a paper towel to let the excess oil drip.
- Prepare sauce: On a large skillet, heat oil on medium/high. Add chopped onion, garlic and sauté for about 6 minutes (without any browning). Add sauce. Add tomato concentrate (dissolved with a little bit of water). Cook on medium/low heat for 10 minutes. Add spices. Adjust seasoning. Add the lentil balls and gently cover them in sauce to heat them trough.
- Prepare spaghetti: Cook pasta in a large pot of salted water. Drain. Reserve 1/2 cup cooking water and add it to the sauce.
- Arrange pasta on a dish. Pour sauce with lentil balls on top and serve.
- you won't be fooled here, lentil balls are not like meatballs;
- they are not as firm and will fall apart if you mix pasta too hard;
- but they taste just fine...especially in this fantastic tomato sauce:
- the sauce...I followed this Italian recipe which had one tablespoon of tomato concentrate added;
- so I did too...and it made a difference;
- the sauce turned out rich, thick and tasty;
- about cooking lentils - you don't want them take too much water during the process; so cook them till just ready;
- it's best when the legumes aren't hot nor cold for mashing/blending;
- I ended up using a fork for the operation; lentils don't have to be perfectly smooth; my food processor was just running with a bean mass stuck to the sides; I tried it with a potato press - don't;
- there is nothing like sitting down with your folks at a table and eating a bowl of pasta...feels really good.