2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups onion, finely chopped
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
3 carrots, diced
1 cup celery, chopped
salt & freshly ground pepper to taste
1 cup lentils, sorted & rinsed
2 bay leaves, 8 parsley branches, & 6 thyme sprigs
10 cups water or vegetable stock
mushroom soy sauce to taste
1/2 10 oz. bag spinach (washed & trimmed)
2 cups cooked shell pasta (4 oz. dry)
thin shavings of Parmesan cheese or Parmesan-Reggiano (optional)
Heat oil in a wide soup pot with onion. Saute over high heat,
stirring fre quently, until lightly browned, about 10 minutes.
Add tomato paste, parsley, garlic, and vegetables, and cook 3
minutes more. Add lentils, aromatics, and water and bring to a
boil. Lower heat and simmer, partially covered, for 30 minutes.
Add 2 teaspoons of salt and season with pepper and additional salt,
if desired, to taste. Add mushroom soy sauce to taste, starting
with 1 tablespoon. Remove the aromatics.
Boil the greens in salted water until they are tender and bright
green, then chop them coarsely. Just before serving, add the greens
and the cooked pasta to the soup and heat through. Serve with
extra virgin olive oil drizzled into each bowl, a generous grind
of pepper, and the Parmesan, if desired.
OPTIONAL PREPARATION METHOD: Add the greens and pasta to the soup
and cook for 10-12 additional minutes.