There is a particular dish I make on the days when I don’t really want to cook but think that smoothies just won’t cut it. Fortunately, Hungry Husband is fond of it and I can easily make enough to last us two, sometimes even three, days. There’s no particular name for this, as far as I know, and although the original recipe (which I use primarily for inspiration) comes from The New Book of Middle Eastern Food, no specific country or location is attributed as the source. My neighbors here do not know it and tend to wrinkle up their noses when I describe it to them.
Noodles with Lentils and Tomatoes (my recipe)
- 1 c. brown lentils
- 3 or 4 big handfuls of smallish macaroni, like elbow or corkscrew
- 1 lb. (or more, if you like) tomatoes, chopped
- 1-2 large onions, quartered and sliced
- 4-5 cloves garlic, mashed
- Vegetable oil
- Salt and pepper
- 1 tsp. sugar
- A big pinch of dried mint
I get the lentils cleaned and boiling first, adding enough water to the pan for the lentils and the macaroni. The lentils usually need about 30 minutes or so until they reach a tender-ish stage, at which point I add the macaroni, stir well and leave to simmer until lentils and macaroni are both cooked. Strain the cooking water off and leave them in the pot.
While the lentils are going, I get my onions frying. Sometimes I like to caramelize the onions by putting them in a frying pan with a decent glug of oil, covering the pan, and leaving them over low heat for 15 minutes or so, stirring occasionally. Then I turn the heat up to high and stir constantly, never taking my eyes off the onions because it only takes about 3 seconds for them to go from brown to burnt. When they are nearly perfect, I throw in my garlic and stir, then add the tomatoes, salt, pepper, sugar, and mint, and stir very well. I let it cook for just two or three minutes, until everything is heated through. Add it to the lentil and macaroni mixture, stir well, and eat. Or wait, because it is surprisingly tasty when eaten cold as well, making it a prime leftover meal.