This recipe came to me from a dear friend who lived abroad in Italy for nearly two years. He picked this one up from friends with similar monetary constraints, who were unwilling to compromise on quality, but who also had better things to do in Milano than stand over a stove. Add a few slices of diced bacon in with the garlic for a richer taste, and feel free to swap the fresh tomato for a little tomato paste; but don't dare skip the mascarpone garnish, as it really makes the dish.
1 clove garlic, minced
3 scallions, sliced, white and green parts divided
1 plum tomato, seeded and diced
1 (1 pound) box ditalini (short pasta tubes)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 (14 1/2 ounce) can lentil soup
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
Mascarpone, for finishing
Salt and pepper, to taste
1. Bring a large pot of water to boil for the pasta. Meanwhile, chop the garlic, scallions, and tomato.
2. When the water boils, salt well, and add the ditalini. Cook for about 7 minutes (no matter what the package says), stirring occasionally.
3. While the ditalini cooks, heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic and white parts of scallions; cook until fragrant and lightly browned, about 1 minute.
4. Add the tomato, stir, and cook until it releases a little moisture, about 1 minute.
5. Add the lentil soup, stir, and reduce the heat to medium or medium-low. Cook until heated through. Add the green scallion tops, reserving a few for garnish. Remove from the heat, add the balsamic vinegar, and salt and pepper to taste.
6. When the ditalini is done, which should be about now, drain and return to the pot. Serve the lentils on top of some of the ditalini (saving the rest for another meal), and top with a generous dollop of mascarpone. Garnish with remaining scallion tops. This tastes best when all stirred up together into a great mess.
Thanks Beth, and good luck! Readers, give Beth a thumbs up if you like this recipe!