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Italian Lentil Soup

  • Author: Roz Corieri Paige | La Bella Vita Cucina
  • Prep Time: 30
  • Cook Time: 20
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Cuisine: Italian

Description

Lentil soup is a traditional dish that Italians enjoy on New Year’s Eve and/or Day in hopes of bringing greater abundance and prosperity in the coming year.  Serve with grated Parmesan cheese, crispy Italian bread and a fresh green salad to have a delightful meal!

For this soup to be completely vegetarian, eliminate the pancetta and use vegetable broth instead of chicken broth.  If using Parmesan cheese is not in your diet, then simply eliminate it as well.  Know that this delicious soup will taste very different if all of these vitally important flavor enhancing ingredients are left out.

 


Ingredients

  • 2 cups lentils, rinsed twice in a colander under cold water
  • 6 cups chicken broth (3 tall containers, not the cans)
  • 1 vegetable bouillion cube
  • 2 – 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil for sauteing the soffrito
  • 8 oz. pancetta, diced
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 celery stalks with leaves attached, diced
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and diced
  • 1/2 cup fresh Italian parsley, stems removed, washed, and minced
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1 tsp. dried thyme
  • 1/4 cup freshly minced basil
  • 1 12-oz. can Italian plum tomatoes (preferably San Marzano), crushed with your hands (or buy it already diced/chopped)
  • 1 small 6-oz. can tomato paste
  • 2 cups fresh spinach leaves or escarole, rinsed well and chopped
  • (optional) pinch of hot red pepper flakes (peperoncini)
  • 2 rinds of parmigiano reggiano cheese
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 short sprig fresh rosemary
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 pound sweet Italian sausage links,(or spicy hot sausage if you prefer) cut into slices (to serve alongside the soup on New Year’s)
  • salt and pepper
  • (optional) pinch of red pepper flakes 
  • Serve with:  freshly grated Parmigiano cheese, pass around to guests

Instructions

  1. Rinse the lentils in cold water in a colander.  Umbrian lentils are so tiny that a paper towel or thin towel is necessary to prevent them from falling through the holes of the colander.
  2. Drizzle olive oil into the Instant Pot and set it to ‘SAUTE’.  The Instant Pot will take about 5 minutes to pre-heat. 
  3. When the olive oil is hot, add the chopped pancetta and saute’ for 2 minutes.
  4. Add the soffrito of onions, carrots, and celery.  Stir.
  5. Cook, stirring often, until the onions, carrots, and celery are semi-soft, for about 2 minutes.
  6. Turn off Saute.  Stir in the garlic, tomatoes, tomato paste, chicken broth, and bouillon cube.
  7. Set the Instant Pot to ‘SOUP’ and bring everything to a boil.
  8. Add the lentils, parsley, spinach/escarole, seasonings, and cheese rinds.
  9. Place the lid on and make sure that the release valve is in the “sealing” position.
  10. Press the ‘MANUAL’ button and set the time for 10 minutes.  The Instant Pot will pre-heat for 10 minutes and then begin to cook.
  11. After 10 minutes, quick-release by flipping the release value to “VENTING” (a little bit at a time).
  12. Once venting is complete, remove the lid and stir gently.
  13. Taste and add additional salt and pepper to taste preferences if desired.
  14. SERVE!
  15. Buon Appetito!

Notes

This soup will keep in a refrigerator for up to 3 days.  
It’s great for freezing too!

For this soup to be completely vegetarian, eliminate the pancetta and use vegetable broth instead of chicken broth.  If using Parmesan cheese is not in your diet, then simply eliminate it as well.  Know that this delicious soup will taste very different if all of these vitally important flavor enhancer ingredients are left out.

Zuppa di Lenticchie ~ This soup is quite easy to prepare, yet hearty enough to be a main course when served with a green salad and some crusty Italian bread. This long-time traditional, classic soup is one of those recipes that every home cook makes in his or her own way. It’s an ancient and essential recipe of boiled lentils that has nourished mankind for thousands of years. Some even say that it’s the first prepared food that we have a written record of from over 4,000 years ago.

Keywords: Instant Pot, Italian, Soup, Lentil