braised Italian lentils & eggs with pesto

Last Saturday Nick and I made dinner together (a rare occurrence indeed, but on the the ‘to-do more regularly’ list) delicious braised lentils with fish and salsa verde. It was so good I immediately became re-addicted to lentils, so much so that I made up this recipe as a way of being able to enjoy them any time of day – for breakfast, lunch or dinner. The lentils are beautifully earthy and flavourful and I could eat mounds of them just on their own (hot or cold!), but if you fancy, top them with an egg which provides a protein-rich contrast, and pop pungent, garlicky pesto on top…..phwoar, unbelievably good!!! To go even one step further feel free to serve them with grilled Italian sausages or pan fried mushrooms – and do let me know if you give them a whirl!

Before I go I just wanted to say thanks to all of those who leave comments and kind words here and on Facebook, as any blogger will tell you, half the time you just feel like a weird, self-involved crazy person, tapping away at the computer, so when you get feedback it’s a total treat!

 200g puy lentils

2 bay leaves
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsp olive oil
100g pancetta, chopped
1/2 onion, peeled and finely chopped
1 stick celery, finely chopped
1 small carrot, finely chopped
1 small zucchini, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
pinch chilli flakes
1/2 cup chopped flat leaf parsley
a few basil leaves
1/2 cup basil pesto

2-4 eggs, fried or poached to your liking

Put lentils in a saucepan and cover (by at least 6 or 7cm) with cold water. Add bay leaves, bring to the boil then reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 20-25 minutes. Drain well,  rinse under cold running water and drain again and fold through vinegar.

In a large, deep frying pan heat olive oil and cook pancetta over a medium heat for 4-5 minutes until crispy and releasing it’s fat. Add onion, celery, carrot and zucchini with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Cook 15 minutes over a gentle heat until the vegetables are softened. Add garlic and chilli with lentils and cook 2 minutes, then out aside. Poach or fry 2-4 eggs (depending on how eggy you want to get), give the lentils a final blat to heat through, stir through parsley and serve topped with basil, eggs and pesto, sea salt and a good grinding of black pepper. Serves 2, but can easily be multiplied to serve more.


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