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Mozzarella Cheese
Egg Pasta
Bread Dipping Oil
Cured Green Olives
Pizza Dough
Penne With Goat Cheese
Pasta With Zucchini
Whole Wheat Pasta With Zesty Tomato Sauce
Wild Mushroom Pizza
Healthy Whole Wheat Pizza
Sausage And Eggplant Calzone
Mixed Spring Greens With Goat Cheese
Grilled Squid Salad
Fava Bean And Shrimp Salad
Fish Soup With Gremolata
Lentil Soup With Escarole And Pancetta
Soup - Lentil Soup With Escarole And Pancetta

For New Year's Day this year I wanted to create a lentil soup that included pork since both lentils and pork are symbols of prosperity and richness for the coming year.

Along with the lentils, I added a few more basic vegetables including onions, celery, and carrots for flavor, and some escarole as my green vegetable addition. Lentil soup can at times be either chewy, or mushy, and using the best lentils you can find will help. I find French green lentils, or the simple larger, regular green ones work well. You can either use all water to make the soup, or chicken broth which will make a richer tasting soup.

2 Tablespoons Olive Oil

4 Slices Of Pancetta, Finely Chopped

1 Small Onion, Finely Chopped

2 Cloves Of Garlic, Minced

2 Carrots, Finely Diced

2 Stalks Of Celery, Finely Chopped

2 Cups Green Lentils

1 Cup, Chopped Canned Tomatoes

1 Bay Leaf

1 1/2 Quarts Chicken Broth

Salt & Pepper

1 Teaspoon Dried Italian Seasoning Mix

2 Slices Italian Bread Cut Into 1 ½ Inch Cubes With Crusts Removed

1/2 Head Escarole, Washed, Dried, And Chopped

1 Tablespoon Balsamic Vinegar

To Serve:

Grated Parmesan Cheese

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Toasted Croutons If Desired

Heat the olive oil with the pancetta, and cook until it is no longer pink. Add the onions, celery, carrots, and garlic over medium heat until they are tender. Add the lentils, tomatoes, chicken broth, salt, pepper and bay leaf. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer. Continue to cook over low heat, adding water as needed if the soup becomes too dry until the lentils are tender but have retained their shape, about 40 minutes. Add the bread to the soup, and using a whisk, break up the bread to help thicken the soup. Add the escarole and cook until tender, an additional 5 minutes. Stir in the balsamic vinegar to mix. Serve topped with a drizzle of olive oil and some grated parmesan cheese.

Buon Appetito!
Deborah Mele 2004