Spaghetti lentilese

This spaghetti is one of my favorite dishes. Nutrition-wise it is of excellent quality with its complex carbohydrates from brown rice flour and rice bran in the pasta, protein and high mineral content in the lentils, and vitamins in the veggies. Brown rice pasta is gluten-free. The brand I recommend declares not processing any gluten grains in their factory.

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Ingredients:

1 12 oz package Tinkyada brown rice pasta (organic),

2 cups cooked brown or black lentils (or about 1 cup dry),

7 small tomatoes,

1 medium carrot,

¼ celery stalk,

½ medium onion,

6 cloves garlic,

1 tablespoon dried oregano,

2 handfuls fresh basil leaves,

2 bay leaves,

¼ teaspoon allspice,

½ teaspoon black pepper,

2 tablespoon olive oil (for frying),

1-2 tablespoon coarse sea salt (for cooking pasta).

I choose this pasta over other kinds because it combines the health benefits of whole grains with the great taste similar to white semolina pasta. If cooked al dente, it is challenging to tell the difference. If you prefer it non-organic at a lower price, it is available in 16 oz packages. So far I found the best deals for it on Vitacost.com, with occasional sales.

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If you do not have cooked lentils, you may soak 1 cup of dry ones in 2 cups of water for 4 hours and cook in water reaching slightly below their level in the pot, with a little bit of sea salt, until soft. However, I always recommend to cook large amount of legumes every now and them, divide them into smaller portions and have them handy whenever you need them (see: Learn to Cook – Legumes).

Chop the onion very finely, chop or grate the carrot and the celery on large holes of grater and fry them together in olive oil on low flame for about 5 minutes. Peel and chop the tomatoes finely (they peel better when dipped in boiling water for a minute) and add them to the pot or sauce pan with the other vegetables, stirring well. Press garlic and add spices into the sauce and stir well. Cook it on low flame for about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile put water on for the pasta and cook it according to the instructions on the package.

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Take the bay leaves out. Shred the basil leaves with your fingers into small pieces and add them to the sauce. Add lentils shortly before serving for 2-3 minutes, just enough to heat them up. Decorate the dish with the remaining basil leaves.

Enjoy!