#TheQuickDish: One Pot Penne with Lentil, Tomato and Kale Sauce

Today’s wonderfully warming and rich one-pot pasta dish is so simple to pull together, and creates so little washing-up, you could even kid yourself that you had called it in, if the taste didn’t give it away.

One-pot penne with lentil, tomato and kale sauce

Leave out the pancetta to make it meat-free. Serves four to six.

  • ½ chile de árbol, toasted and crumbled (or 2-3 dried chilli flakes; optional)
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 75g pancetta or lardons, cut into cubes (optional)
  • 1 large onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 carrot, peeled and cut into small dice
  • ½ fennel bulb, trimmed and finely chopped (reserve any fronds to garnish)
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 200g tinned plum tomatoes (ie, half a can)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 sprig rosemary, picked and chopped
  • 200g puy or castelluccio lentils
  • 4 litres chicken or vegetable stock
  • 250g short penne (or rigatoni)
  • 150g kale, finely shredded
  • 100g single cream
  • 1 big handful flat-leaf parsley leaves, roughly chopped
  • Parmesan, to serve
  • Extra-virgin olive oil, to serve

Warm a large, deep pan over a medium flame, then gently toast the chile, if using (much as you would dry spices), for 30-40 seconds, until aromatic. Remove from the pan, then add a tablespoon of oil and, once that’s hot, the pancetta. Fry, stirring, for a few minutes, until the pancetta releases its fat and starts to colour, then add the onion, carrot, fennel, garlic and toasted chile, and season generously. Cook gently, stirring occasionally, for eight to 10 minutes, until the vegetables are soft. Add the tomatoes, herbs, lentils and remaining oil, stir for minute or two, so everything is well coated, then pour in the stock and bring to a gentle simmer. Leave to cook for 15-20 minutes, until the lentils are done but still have some bite.

Stir the pasta into the pot, add a little more salt, then cook for 10-12 minutes, stirring often so the pasta doesn’t stick together; add the kale to the pot after five minutes. When the pasta is just al dente and the liquid has reduced to a sauce, stir in the cream and bring to a boil. Stir in the parsley, check the seasoning and transfer the pasta to shallow bowls. Scatter over some grated parmesan, drizzle with a little extra oil and serve at once.

And for the rest of the week…

Health-boosting chile de árbol also helps speed up the metabolism, so shake up the winter fug by making a batch of chile oil with any excess (árbol is widely available online). It’s really simple to make, too: toast a handful of de-stemmed chiles in a dry frying pan, then blitz with two or three tablespoons of toasted sesame seeds, a handful of toasted peanuts and some toasted garlic (toast them all in a frying pan, but don’t peel the garlic until afterwards). Use your chile oil liberally in stir-fries, on eggs and in pasta.


Originally created from here.