The earthy flavor of the lentils is set off by the tartness of the tomatoes and a spoonful of wine vinegar, which is stirred in just before serving the soup. Cooked pasta makes a good addition to this soup. Try any short pasta, such as elbow macaroni, or break up strands of spaghetti or linguine. Use about 2 1/2 cups cooked pasta (1 cup dried).
- 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 carrots, chopped
- 2 stalks celery, sliced
- 1 onion, chopped
- Salt and pepper
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 dried bay leaf
- 1 can (28 ounces) whole tomatoes, with their juice
- 4 cups water
- 1 cup lentils, picked over and rinsed well
- 1 tablespoon wine vinegar
In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat oil over medium heat. Add carrots, celery, onion, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Cook until onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Add garlic, thyme, and bay leaf, and cook until vegetables begin to soften, 2 to 3 minutes longer.
Add tomatoes with their liquid, breaking them up with a large spoon. Add water and lentils, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer, partially covered, until lentils are tender, about 30 minutes. Just before serving, stir in vinegar.