January 18, 2012
My grandmother bought me Domenica Marchetti's three cookbooks for Christmas and this lentil soup is the second recipe I have tried from them. (The first was her recipe for fresh pasta, which I made before the New Year and didn't photograph. I made fresh ricotta ravioli with the fresh pasta and they were fantastic; I will be making them again.) I am drawn to Ms. Marchetti not only because of her Italian heritage, but also because she lives near me in Virginia and she is a good storyteller. On her blog, in her articles for the Washington Post, and in the introductions to her recipes in her cookbooks, she shares a part of her life that makes the recipe that more intriguing.
I love lentils and had an extremely disappointing bowl of lentil soup at a restaurant recently, so I decided that I needed to make a batch to make up for it. (For other delicious lentil dishes, see here, here, here, here, and here.) Ms. Marchetti's recipe for lentil soup is in her cookbook, The Glorious Soups and Stews of Italy, and can be found in this interview with her in Northern Virginia magazine.
This soup is a keeper. It is simple, delicious, healthy and the best part of all: the ingredients maintained their integrity throughout the cooking process. I hate mush, so was delighted when after simmering for 45 minutes, all of the ingredients were still recognizable. I didn't make the croutons she recommends for the soup, but MM's Aunt Ann had sent us home with a bag of oyster crackers this past weekend, and they added the perfect amount of crunch and salt to the soup.