Trouble With Toast

Recipe: Pasta with Arugula and Lentils | February 12, 2009

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.

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 large onions, halved and thinly sliced (4 cups)
  • coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 12 ounces plum tomatoes, cored and diced (about 2 cups)
  • ¾ cup lentils, picked over and rinsed
  • 12 ounces orecchiette pasta
  • 1 bunch (8 ounces) arugula, stemmed and coarsely chopped
  • ½ cup finely grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving (optional)

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.




  1. I made a new recipe last week with orecchiette and broccolini. Made it in a flash, and it had olive oil, lemon juice, salt and crushed red pepper. It was great and the red pepper made the dish shine. Wasn’t that great left over as the pasta got a little gummy.
    Peace – Amy

    Comment by Amy Stillwell — February 15, 2009 @ 9:46 pm

  2. Red pepper will DEFINITELY go into this dish if I make it again. Yours sounds so good!

    Comment by bettyjoan — February 17, 2009 @ 1:15 pm

  3. I’ve never made pasta with lentils before. It sounds good to me. Thanks!

    Comment by mary — February 20, 2009 @ 1:43 am

  4. Mary: Welcome, and you’re welcome! My fiance wasn’t sure he loved the lentil-pasta combo, but I liked it.

    Comment by bettyjoan — February 20, 2009 @ 3:16 pm

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