I was looking for something tasty and vegetarian tonight for dinner. I found this traditional Middle Eastern dish in Moosewood Restaurant New Classics, one of my favorite cookbooks. It is a meal that is found everywhere in Egypt.
Egyptian Lentils & Pasta
This is a 4-part recipe. It’s a little time-consuming, but not difficult. First, cook the lentils.
3/4 cup lentils
3 cups of water
1/2 teaspoon salt
Put the lentils, water and salt in a small saucepan. Bring it to a boil and then reduce the heat, simmering the lentils until tender (about 40 minutes). Drain.
4 cups coarsely chopped fresh tomatoes
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 fresh green chile, chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
While the lentils are cooking, puree the tomatoes, garlic, chile, oil, vinegar and salt in a blender or food processor. Transfer this mixture to a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until thick, about 20-25 minutes.
1 cup brown rice or white basmati rice
1 teaspoon olive oil
3 cups water
1/2 teaspoon salt
If you are using brown rice, put this on to cook at the same time you are beginning to cook the lentils as they take about the same amount of time. White rice only takes about 15 minutes to cook. Put the water, rice and salt in a pot and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and cook until the rice is tender, about 45 minutes for brown rice and 15-20 minutes for white rice.
4 cups thinly sliced small onions
1/4 teaspoon salt
In a medium frying pan, place about 1/2 inch of oil and heat it on high until it is very hot. Cook the onions in batches so they brown easier, stirring often, until the onions are quite brown, but not burned, about 10 minutes. Drain the fried onions on a paper towel. Sprinkle the onions with salt.
1 & 1/2 quarts salted water
1 & 1/2 cups elbow macaroni
Boil the water, add the pasta and cook until al dente, about 10-15 minutes, and drain.
To serve, put a small mound of lentils, rice and pasta (side by side) on the plate. Sprinkle with fried onions and top with hot sauce. Serve immediately.