This recipe is based on my mother-in-law’s, but I’ve modified it and continue to do so every time I make it.
1-2 carrots, sliced thin
1 small onion, chopped
1 stalk of celery, sliced thin
1 clove of garlic, minced
handful of fresh parsley, chopped
salt to taste
pinch of pepper
about 1/3 cup olive oil
½ lb small pasta, like ditalini, tubetti, elbows
Rinse out the lentils in cold water and drain. Place them in a pot, cover with water, up to 2-inches above surface. Place over medium flame , cover and let come to a boil. Boil 1 minute. Add all other ingredients, lower flame to very low, cover and simmer 1 hour. You can make this part ahead of time.
When ready to serve it, bring it to a boil again, add more boiling water to the pot (about 2 cups), then throw in the pasta, cover and cook for approx. 10 minutes, till tender, but not soft (remember, it continues to cook in the hot soup after it’s been turned off).
Serve with plenty of parmigiano.
Note 2: You can also use rice instead of pasta. Italians do that a lot, since rice is pretty-much considered a kind of pasta and is served with many sauces.