- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1 carrot, peeled and chopped
- 1 celery rib, chopped
- 2 slices bacon
- 2 cloves garlic, sliced
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 cup dried brown lentils
- 3 cups chicken stock
- 1 cup fresh spinach (baby spinach is best) or 1/2 cup frozen spinach, thawed
- 1 cup cooked rice or small pasta, such as ditalini or orzo
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Grated Italian cheese, for topping
- Crusty bread, for mopping
Heat the EVOO in large saucepot. Add the onion, carrots, celery and bacon and sauté over medium-high heat for 5 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté for 5 minutes more. Add the lentils, bay leaf and stock and simmer for 20 minutes. Stir in the spinach and cook for another 5 minutes. Add the cooked rice or pasta and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Take bacon out at the last minute (it was there just for flavor).
Serve piping hot with grated cheese sprinkled on top and crusty bread alongside.