Recipe from Chef Susan Feniger, owner of STREET in Hollywood
MAKES 6 CUPS; SERVES 6 TO 8
- 3 tablespoons canola oil
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 cups chopped white onions
- 1 cup dried brown lentils, rinsed
- 3/4 cup basmati rice
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- Kosher salt
- 2 1/2 cups vegetable stock or water
- 1 cup straight-cut macaroni (ditalini)
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon harissa (see page 49)
- 1 bunch fresh Italian parsley leaves, chopped
- In a large saucepan set over medium-high heat, heat the canola oil and butter. Add the onions and cook until they start to caramelize, about 4 minutes. Add the lentils and rice, and toast, stirring constantly, for 5 minutes. Add the cumin and 1 tablespoon salt, and stir to combine. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes to toast the cumin.
- Then add the stock, reduce the heat to low, and simmer, uncovered, until the liquid has been absorbed and the mixture is starting to crackle and toast on the bottom, about 30 minutes. (You may need to stir the mixture occasionally to make sure that the rice and lentils don't burn on the bottom of the pan. You will know that the mixture is done when the rice and lentils are tender and cooked through, but are not mushy or soft.)
- Transfer the mixture to a large mixing bowl and set it aside to cool at room temperature.
- Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until al dente. Drain well.
- Heat a sauté pan over medium heat and add the olive oil. Add the drained pasta and cook until it starts to crisp and brown, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat, and add the harissa and a pinch of salt (or to taste).
- Add the pasta and the chopped parsley to the rice mixture, and stir to combine. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Message from Chef Feniger: I learned about this combination of lentils, rice, and pasta in Israel. I was living on a kibbutz outside of Tel Aviv at the end of my junior year in high school, and my friends and I took a week to travel around the country. With no money, we slept on the beaches in sleeping bags and got around by bus. It was at one of the bus stations that I first tasted this dish, which originated in Egypt. I love this method of browning pasta in butter after cooking it, which changes the texture of the pasta, making it firmer and creating a toasted wheat flavor that enhances the dish.
Full story: Meatless Monday ideas that are tasty, healthy