Sunday, February 14, 2016

Tessa's Spaghetti with Lentil Ragu

A few weeks ago, my sweet friend Deb @ Kahakai Kitchen, shared that this year was the Year Of The Pulse, and being the pulse lover I am, I knew I had to participate! I knew right away which recipe I would make. Ever since I first opened Tessa Kiros' latest cookbook, Recipes & Dreams, I longed to make this Spaghetti with Lentil Ragu. Now was the perfect time to make it happen!

A hearty dish like this lentil ragu was even more ideal when the weather plummeted to a low of one degree (1F) Farenheit, with a windchill of -10. A quick ride to the store revealed frozen roadways and creeks. No one was out on those desolate roadways, nor were they at the store, and everything was quiet and still. The kind of quiet and still that plays with your mind and feels somewhat lifeless. The still of winter.

The still of winter keeps you inside, only daring to venture out into the cold when you absolutely must.  It relegates you to the few things you can do indoors, such as: eat, read, and watch TV. If you're like me, and you don't like going out in this weather, then you will need to stock up on books and get cozy with Netflix. You'll also need to look for good comforting pantry staples like this one to carry you through those barren winter days.

Made from 100% pantry staples, this Lentil Ragu is hearty enough to satisfy even the most voracious of appetites. A quick simmer of  lentils, onion, tomato, earthy sage, and garlic and you have a thick hearty sauce to pour over hot buttered spaghetti.  A gratifying warm bowl of pasta that really hits the spot! A soul-soothing meal that helps pull you through those winter doldrums.

Spaghetti with Lentil Ragu
Adapted from Recipes & Dreams
by Tessa Kiros
Serves 5 

7 ounces small brown lentils
bunch of fresh sage
1 whole medium clove garlic, peeled
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium red onion, chopped
1 (14-ounce) can chopped tomatoes
good pinch of red pepper flakes
2 heaping tablespoons chopped parsley
16 ounces of spaghetti
Parmesan cheese, freshly shredded

Rinse the lentils, pick out and discard any hard odd bits, then put in a pot and cover with water. Ad the sage and the garlic clove and simmer, partly covered, for 25 minutes or so. Add a little hot water if the level becomes low and season with salt toward the end of the cooking time. Drain, keeping the cooking water.

Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a saucepan and saute the onion, stirring with a wooden spoon, until it is sticky. Add the tomatoes, a pinch of salt and pepper, and the red pepper flakes. Simmer, mashing down the tomato chunks until they collapse. Add the lentils, along with about 1 cup of the cooking water, and simmer, uncovered, for another 10 minutes, for all the flavors to combine.  Add a drop more water, if it looks too thick or cook a little longer if too thin. Stir in the parsley and remove from the heat. 

Meanwhile, cook the pasta in boiling salted water to al dente.  Drain the pasta and serve in warm, wide pasta bowls. Ladle some lentil ragu over each (you may have some ragu left over - Tessa likes to serve it with boiled potatoes the next day). Some like this spaghetti with Parmesan, but others insist it should be served without.


  1. My husband and I love lentils but have not seen it with pasta before. I also got one of my recipes from your blog, thank you. It was a nice introduction for me to Tessa. I look forward to her showing up again someday. I hope the weather thaws a bit for you.

  2. My goodness, Kim, I can't imagine it ever being that cold. Right now I'm sitting out in my garden in 28 degrees C (which would be over 80 degrees F), so the kind of cold you're talking about seems incomprehensible right now. Still you've chosen the perfect dish for those kind of conditions, though I know I could happily eat a nice bowl full of that no matter what the weather xo

  3. Yay! Happy Year of the Pulse! ;-) I have had this recipe tagged to make so I am glad to know it is so satisfying and delicious. Stay warm!

  4. Lentil ragu. I should get some lentils. Thanks for this recipe. :)

  5. I agree that making lentil ragu is a perfect way to dispel any winter woes. Serving it with spaghetti works here. I have to give it a try. Thanks for a great pulse idea.

  6. We have had freezing temps at night but this week it's supposed to pick up! I will send you some sunshine! Never ever thought about lentils in pasta but I see it works beautifully . Mainly I eat lentils with soup or as a side with veggies. This is a brilliant recipe.

  7. I've had lentils with small pasta but never over spaghetti noodles. Now that I've seen this I'm going to give it a try. It looks wonderful!

  8. You know I love a good meatless ragu, and lentils really have the perfect texture in a dish like this! So hearty and comforting.

  9. Hi Kim,
    I have this book too, and love all the pasta recipes in it. This one certainly caught my attention! Looks delicious. I'm gonna try this one of these days!


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