On our last outlet shopping excursion, my mom bought me this cute little cookbook stand (since I complained that my recipes were getting splattered with assorted cooking debris). Unless I’m actually preparing a recipe, I usually just keep a random cookbook up there, flipped to a pretty page.
After looking at this recipe (from my Good Food Fast cookbook) for a couple of weeks, I decided to give it a try. It is a healthy dish that has infinite possibilities: you could switch out the arugula for spinach, parsley, or really any green you prefer. You could use fire-roasted tomatoes rather than fresh (for more flavor, or if tomatoes are out of season). You could substitute another kind of pasta. My only complaint was that the end result lacked the oomph that I was hoping for. Next time, I’ll add some garlic and/or red pepper flakes. Some fresh herbs could amp up the flavor, too.
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add onions and ½ teaspoon salt; cover, and cook until onions wilt, about 20 minutes. Uncover; raise heat to medium. Cook, stirring often, until onions are dark brown, 20 to 25 minutes more.
Add ¼ cup water; stir to loosen any browned bits from pan. Stir in tomatoes; remove from heat.
Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, cover lentils with water by 1 inch. Bring to a simmer. Cover; cook until lentils are tender but still holding their shape, 15 to 20 minutes. Drain; stir into onion mixture. Season with salt and pepper.
Cook pasta in a pot of salted water until al dente. Reserve 1 cup pasta water; drain pasta, and return to pot.
Add lentil mixture, arugula, cheese, and reserved pasta water; toss. Season with salt and pepper. Serve with more cheese, if desired.