Friday, October 20, 2006

Whole Wheat Pasta with Lentils, Spinach, and Leeks

Copyright: The New Martha Stewart Living Cookbook: The New Classics

2 cups (14 ounces) French green lentils (I used de Puy)
2 garlic cloves
1 dried bay leaf
1 pound small whole-wheat chicocciole or other small tubular pasta
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 lees (about 1 3/4 pounds), white and light-green parts only, sliced into 1/8-inch rounds, washed well and drained
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
Freshly ground black pepper
8 ounces baby spinach, washed

1. In a medium saucepan, combine the lentils, 1 garlic clove, and the bay leaf. Add enough cold water to cover by 2 inches. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer until the lentils are tender, 20 to 25 minutes. Drain, and discard the garlic clove and bay leaf; set the lentils aside.

2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil; add the pasta; cook until al dente, according to package instructions, about 7 minutes. Drain the pasta, reserving 1 cup cooking liquid. Place the pasta in a large bowl.

3. Meanwhile, mince the remaining garlic clove. In a large saute pan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the minced garlic, leeks, and thyme; cook, stirring occasionally, until the leeks are soft but not browned, about 5 minutes. Add the cooked lentils and salt; season with pepper.

4. Add the spinach and reserved cooking liquid to the pan; toss to wilt the spinach, about 2 minutes. Pour the mixture over the pasta, tossing to combine. Serve immediately.

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