Pasta Lenticchie Recipe

Pasta with Lentils

    Pasta with Lentils
Pasta Lenticchie is a standby
of many Italian American families, just as it’s sister soup, Zuppa di Lenticchie
(Lentil Soup). As is with many of the older Italian-American recipes that are
primarily from the south, including from; Sicily, Campania (around Naples),
Apulia, and Calabria, this is a dish of the poor (Cucina Povera), as all the
ingredients, other than the cheese are quite cheap. And for those families who
couldn’t afford cheese, they simply didn’t use it. They might use toasted
breadcrumbs instead, from some leftover bread. Nowadays just about anyone can
afford cheese, so we highly recommend you dressing your pasta with a drizzle of
Olive Oil and some grated Pecorino or Caciocavallo Cheese, it’s oh so tasty.
8 ounce dry Lentils
8 tablespoons Olive Oil
1 medium Onion, peeled and minced fine
2 stalks Celery, washed and minced fine
5 cloves Garlic, peeled and minced fine
1 cup chopped San Marzano Plum Tomatoes
2 Chicken Bullion Cubes (optional)
1 Bay Leaf
1 – 10 ounce package frozen Spinach, thawed
1 pound Pasta; Gemelli, Small Shells, or Fusilli
grated Pecorino Romano, Parmigiano, or Grana
¼ cup of olive oil and onions in a large 6 quart pot. Cook on low heat for 5
minutes, stirring occasionally.
Celery and cook for 4 minutes. Add red pepper cook and garlic and cook for 2
tomatoes and cook on high heat for 4 minutes. Add Lentils and cook 3 minutes
while stirring with a wooden spoon.
Bay Leaf and water to cover the lentils by 1 inch. Cook at a medium simmer
until lentils are tender but have a bit of firmness to them, about 22 minutes.
the thawed spinach, add to lentils and cook for 5 minutes on medium heat.
pasta as per the directions on package. When finished cooking, drain into a
colander, reserving a few tablespoons of water to add to pasta.
the drained pasta back into the pot it cook in and drizzle with some Olive Oil.
Using a large slotted spoon, add lentils to the past and mix. Add a little bit
of the pasta cooking water if you need it. You don’t want the pasta to be
watery, but you do want it to be a little loose. Do this by adding only small
amounts of liquid at a time until you have reached the consistency that you
into shallow past bowls, drizzle with a bit more olive oil and pass the grated
This is a vegetarian dish, but if you like to add meat, you can sauté some
Italian Sausages and add to this recipe.
Add some sausage to each bowl and enjoy.









Pasta Lentichie is actually made from Zuppa di Lenticchie. You make the soup, then take some it, draining off most of the broil so you end up with mostly the solids of Lentils with the chopped onion and carrot within. You cook whichever pasta you like then use these drained Lentils as the Sauce for the Maccheroni, and dressed with good quality Olive Oil and grated cheese (Caciacavallo, Pecorino, or Parmigiano). Basta !

Bellino on Braciole

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I still remember Mommy tying up the Braciole with cord as I watched fascinated by the act. Little did I realize how monumental these actions were in our world, the World of Italian-America, the food and the culture. Braciole is epic in our world, and Meatballs even more so, as well as Sausages, Pasta, Gravy, Espresso, and Cannoli, they are all quite dear to us. And little did I know then as a young boy of just five, I would write of these thing one day. I’d write of Spaghetti, Meatballs, Marinara, Mussels, Artichokes, Sausages, Sunday Sauce Gravy, and mommy making the Braciole and Meatbballs. She’d have the butcher cut her slices of beef top-round that she’d season with salt, pepper, Parsley, Pignoli, and Pecorino. Then she’d roll them up jelly-roll style and before tying them with a string she’d brown them in olive oil that would start the sauce she’d braise them in. I watched intently, and someday I’d make Braciole of my own. Mommy would make the Braciole and cook in the tomato sauce. More often than not she’d make a whole pot of Gravy (aka Sunday Sauce) with these Braciole, Sausages, and Meatballs. This Sunday Sauce Gravy was usually made on Sunday or possibly the night before and we’d have just Spaghetti & Meatballs from this pot of Gravy on Saturday night, saving the rest to eat the next day on Sunday with everything else; Maccheroni with Gravy, the Sausage, Meatballs, and Braciole. And what a wonderful day it would be eating Braciole, Gravy and all the rest.

   Yes, I still remember Mommy making the Braciole she learned from her mom, my maternal grandmother Giuseppina Salemi Bellino who was born in Lercara Freddi, Sicily. Nonna Giuseppina learned to make Braciole and regional Sicilian dishes from her mom, my great-grandmother who was a Salemi, and that’s all I know of her. Yes, the Braciole recipe goes back to her and to Nonna Giuseppina, and then to my mother Lucia and then on to me and my sister Barbara, and brother Michael. That’s our story on Braciole. Basta!

Excerpted from Daniel Bellino-Zwicke ‘s soon to be released MANGIA ITALIANO  ..

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Beef Braciole








Sicilian Fried Steaks


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   Steak al Palermo

 This Steak preparation from Palermo is the favorite way that Palermitani like to eat Steak when they are eating it, which is not all that often. Well not all that often 50 years ago or more when most of the population was quite poor. These days however, it’s a much different story, people have a little more money these days, and can afford a steak dinner every now and then. Though in the past few years with the world’s economy in a downturn, maybe they can’t afford steaks all that much once again. This is one reason that the cut of steak is usually cut from the rump or other cheaper cut of beef. In the recipe here however, we have you using Sirloin Steak, though more expensive, it’s tastier and more forgiving when cooking it. It will be tender, and not tough as a Rump Steak would be. The dish is almost like a Veal Milanese, a famed Northern Italian dish, Veal Milanese which is quite expensive. Besides it being marinated and that it’s beef instead of veal, though similar, the Steak Palmertiano is quite different than it’s much more expensive northern cousin.

Being in the Provencia di Palermo in Lercara Friddi, this dish was known to my Sicilian grandfather, who was so poor he only ate it a few times in his life. In America he could have it a bit more often, which was just once a year, cooked by his wife Giuseppina for Philipo’s Birthday as a special birthday treat. Make it and treat yourself as well every-now-and-then.


4 Sirloin Steaks, cut 1/3 of an inch thick

¼ cup Olive Oil, the Juice of 1 Lemon

3 cloves Garlic, peeled and sliced thin

1 bay Leaf

¼ cup chopped fresh Parsley

¼ teaspoon dry Sicilian Oregano

6 tablespoons red wine

1 cup Breadcrumbs

1 Lemon, cut in quarters

Get your butcher to cut you 4 Sirloin Steaks at a thickness of ¾ of an inch each, and have him pound the steaks flat.

Place olive oil, garlic, Lemon Juice, Oregano, wine, and half the fresh Parsley in a shallow glass baking dish and mix all together. Place the steaks in the marinade and let marinate for at least 3 or hours or overnight.

After the steaks have marinated, remove from marinade and shake off excess.

Coat steaks with breadcrumbs on both sides.

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Put 8 tablespoons vegetable oil in a large frying pan that is big enough to cook two teaks at a time. Heat oil to high and add two of the steaks. Cook the steaks over medium-high heat for about 3 minutes. Turn steaks over and cook on second side for three minutes. Remove the two cooked steaks and place in a 200 degree oven on a plate or pan to keep warm.

Cook the other two steaks the same as the first two. When all four steaks are cooked, plate onto 4 plates and sprinkle on the remaining Parsley over the steaks.

Garnish each plate with a lemon wedge and serve steaks with a Mixed Green Salad, Potatoes, or whichever vegetable you like.

This Recipe was Excerpted from GRANDMA BELLINO’S ITALIAN COOKBOOK by Daniel Bellino Z – Reicpes from My Sicilian Nonna  …

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SICILIAN & Other Italian Recipes

by Daniel Bellino Z


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