A fine Mideast winter dish with protein-rich lentils and comforting noodles.
According to author of The Book of Middle Eastern Food Claudia Rodin, flour noodles have been known here since ancient times and owe nothing to Italian pasta recipes. It’s pasta all the same, but known in the Middle East as rishta, from the Persian word for threads. Mrs. Rodin’s cookbook (one of several) offers a fine recipe for noodles tossed or topped with lentils, which we’ve adapted slightly. See another popular recipe with lentils and rice, here.
Grate a little pungent cheese over the dish if you like, although it’s not traditional. A dollop of labneh on top is also tasty. Learn how to make labneh here.
Noodles with Lentils
1 cup lentils, picked over and rinsed
1 tsp. salt
1 small bay leaf
2 cups water
2 tblsp. olive oil
2 onions, chopped fine
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
salt and pepper
tagliatelli noodles for 6 servings
optional: grated cheese
Put lentils into the cold water with 1 tsp. salt and bay leaf, cover and bring to a boil. Cook till tender, about 45 minutes. If they are ready before all the water is absorbed, drain and set aside.
In a frying pan, saute onions in the olive oil till golden. Add garlic, coriander, cumin and salt and pepper to taste. Cook a further 2 or 3 minutes, stirring often.
Add onion mixture to the lentils. Taste for salt and add if needed, adding pepper to taste.
Cook noodles. Drain and mix into lentils or serve piled onto dishes with topped with lentils. Grate cheese over them if liked, or stir a little labneh in.
More Middle-Eastern recipes here:
Photo by Miriam Kresh.