An Italian Lentil soup is healthy and hearty! My version is spicy and includes lots of garlic and leftover Easter ham. The secret to a great lentil or minestrone soup is the addition of a Parmesan cheese rind to the soup during the last 20 minutes. It melts in creating a bowl of heaven.
Author Homemade Italian Cooking with Cara
2cupsdiced leftover hamor substitute pancetta, bacon or Italian sausage
1tspeach red and black pepper
1large whole onion diced
5stalks celery dicedwith leaves
2cupswateras needed to cover
1Parmesan rindfrozen or fresh
In a large dutch oven on the the stove, add the olive oil, red & black peppers garlic and onion and saute until translucent. Add the celery, ham and thyme and cook for another 10 minutes until the ham starts to caramelize. Stir in carrots, lentils, chicken stock, oregano, and bay leaf. Add more water to cover all the ingredients if needed.
Add the whole Parmesan rind and be sure it is submerged in the liquid. Cover and cook 40-45 minutes, or until the lentils are tender.
Toss out bay leaf and parm rind before serving.
Serve with toasted garlic bread and grated parmesan cheese. Goes wonderful with a bold red wine.