FUSILLI WITH LENTILS, GREENS AND ROASTED GARLIC

FOR THIS RECIPE I USED RADISH GREENS, AS THEY WERE THE ONLY ONES I COULD FIND. YOU COULD EASILY USE SPINACH, KALE OR WHATEVER YOU LIKE. USING CANNED LENTILS SAVES A LOT OF TIME AND EFFORT. IF YOU DON’T HAVE THE FRESH HERBS, YOU CAN DO WITHOUT OR USE OTHERS (E.G. OREGANO, ETC). -JRS

INGREDIENTS

– 1 package fusilli pasta (or whatever pasta you want)
– 3.5 to 4 cups of cooked brown lentils (e.g. canned)
– 1 medium red onion, finely diced
– 5 to 6 handfuls of greens, torn if large (radish greens, kale, spinach, etc.)
– 5 to 6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
– 1/2 sprig fresh rosemary, kept whole
– 2 or 3 leaves fresh sage
– 1/4 cup or so of chopped fresh parsley
– 1 dried bay leaf
– Olive oil and balsamic vinegar
– Salt and pepper, to taste
– Chili flakes (optional)

If using canned lentils, drain and rinse. If fresh, cook in heavily seasoned water until tender.

Pour 5 to 6 tablespoons of olive oil into a saucepan. Add the garlic and chili flakes, if using. Bring to medium heat and lower until the garlic is simmering very gently. Let cook for at least 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add onion and a splash of water to the oil and garlic. Raise the heat to about medium until the water starts to cook off. Lower heat and let the onions soften for 3 to 5 minutes.

Add the lentils and the herbs along with another splash of water. Stir through and season with salt and pepper (NOTE: canned lentils may already be seasoned; taste them beforehand and add salt accordingly). Add about 3 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar.

Toss in the greens and cook over medium heat for 5 to 7 minutes, stirring regularly. If the lentils are very dry, add water as necessary (you can also add water from the pasta while it is cooking).

Taste the lentils. They might need more salt, pepper or vinegar. Season as you like. You should be getting the flavour of the roasted garlic, the earthiness of the lentils, the bitterness from the greens, as well as the taste of the herbs.

Cook pasta in heavily salted water (about 1 tablespoon of salt per litre) according to package instructions. Drain, return to pot and pour in the lentils and greens. Stir through and let cool in the pot for 15 minutes or so before serving.

Fusilli with lentils, greens and roasted garlic.