This is a very traditional soup that Italians enjoy for ringing in the new year! It’s absolutely delicious too! But hey, we all need a little bit more good health and good fortune too!
- 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 sautéing 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
- salt and pepper
- Serve with: freshly grated Parmigiano cheese, pass around to guests
- 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.
- Drizzle olive oil into the Instant Pot and set it to ‘SAUTE’. The Instant Pot will take about 5 minutes to pre-heat.
- When the olive oil is hot, add the chopped pancetta and saute’ for 2 minutes.
- Add the soffrito of onions, carrots, and celery. Stir.
- Cook, stirring often, until the onions, carrots, and celery are semi-soft, for about 2 minutes.
- Turn off Saute. Stir in the garlic, tomatoes, tomato paste, chicken broth, and bouillon cube.
- Set the Instant Pot to ‘SOUP’ and bring everything to a boil.
- Add the lentils, parsley, spinach/escarole, seasonings, and cheese rinds.
- Place the lid on and make sure that the release valve is in the “sealing” position.
- 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.
- After 10 minutes, quick-release by flipping the release value to “VENTING” (a little bit at a time).
- Once venting is complete, remove the lid and stir gently.
- Taste and add additional salt and pepper to taste preferences if desired.
- Buon Appetito!
- For all of your meat-lovin’ family and friends, it’s nice to offer 1 pound of sweet Italian sausage links, (or spicy hot sausage if you prefer) cut into slices (to serve alongside the soup on New Year’s Eve.