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Campanelle with Lentils

We initially assumed we would be choosing firm green lentilles du Puy for our campanelle with lentils recipe, but we quickly realized that softer brown lentils were a better bet as they broke down and clung tenaciously to the pasta.

As for the cooking medium, some recipes use chicken broth, but we were surprised to find we liked the lentils best cooked in plain water because it let the legumesí flavor come through more clearly. To pump up the flavor of the lentils for our campanelle with lentils recipe, we added a Parmesan rind; its cheesy flavor perfectly complemented the earthy lentils.

We cooked the pasta as the lentils simmered and had dinner on the table in just over 30 minutes.

Campanelle, also called gigli, are small pieces of pasta shaped like trumpets with ruffled edges. If you cannot find this type of pasta, any small pasta, such as orecchiette, cavatelli, or shells, will work in this recipe. To ensure the lentils donít become chalky and tough, cook them fully before adding the red wine.

2tablespoons unsalted butter
1 medium onion , cut into 1/4-inch dice (about 1 cup)
2 medium carrots , peeled and cut into 1/4-inch dice (about 1 cup)
1 stalk celery , cut into 1/4-inch dice (about 1/2 cup)
1/2 cup dried brown lentils , picked over and rinsed
1 small piece Parmesan cheese rind (about 2 by 2 inches)
3 tablespoons red wine
1 pound campanelle , or other small pasta shape
1/4 cup fresh parsley leaves , chopped
Ground black pepper
Grated Parmesan cheese

1. Heat the butter in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. When the foaming subsides, add the onion, carrots, and celery and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are lightly browned, about 4 minutes. Add the lentils, 2 cups water, Parmesan rind, and 1 teaspoon salt. Cover and simmer until the lentils are fully cooked and tender, 20 to 25 minutes. Add the wine and simmer for an additional minute. Set the lentil mixture aside.

2. Meanwhile, bring 4 quarts water to a rolling boil in a large pot. Add 1 tablespoon salt and the pasta, stir to separate, and cook until al dente. Reserving 1/4 cup cooking water, drain the pasta and return it to the cooking pot. Toss the pasta with the lentils, the reserved cooking water, and the parsley. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately, passing the grated cheese separately.