After the excesses of the last few days,
we I decided it might be time to bring some balance back to our table. Easter is a time where we let the kids eat a little chocolate between meals. Chocolate tends to rule proceedings from Easter Sunday morning until the supply runs out some days/weeks later. So, when it comes to meal times, I feel compelled to adjust the scales and provide my family with some nutrient rich food to counter the effects of chocolate overload. This pasta dish is both comforting and wholesome at the same time. While lentils may conjure up images of peace-love-and-hippie communes, you don't have to wear a hessian tunic and sing folk songs to enjoy this. We were even able to indulge in an Easter Sachertorte for dessert with a clear conscience - life's, all about balance, right?
10g dried porcini mushrooms
1 onion, chopped
1 carrot, roughly chopped
1 small red capsicum, chopped
2 tbs olive oil
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 red chilli, finely chopped
2 tsp chopped oregano leaves
400g can brown lentils, drained, rinsed
2 cups of tomato passata (I had my home made passata, but you can use store-bought passata or a 400g can chopped tomatoes would be fine)
500g dried spaghetti
Finely grated parmesan and flat-leaf parsley, to serve
Place the porcini mushrooms in a small heatproof bowl and pour over 1/2 cup (125ml) boiling water. Set aside to soak for 10 minutes. Drain, reserving soaking liquid, and finely chop.
Pulse the onion, carrot and capsicum, garlic, chilli, oregano and porcini in a food processor until finely chopped.
Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the chopped vegetables and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes or until soft.Add the lentils, tomato passata or canned chopped tomatoes and porcini liquid, bring to the boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer for 15-20 minutes or until thick. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.
Meanwhile, cook pasta in a large saucepan of lightly salted boiling water according to packet instructions. Drain the pasta, reserving a little of the cooking water and return to pan with sauce and toss to combine. Use a little of the reserved cooking water if it's a little dry. You want the sauce to coat the pasta.
Serve garnished with parmesan and flat-leaf parsley.