I know that since my post last week on making fresh pasta at home, you’ve all been madly producing kilos and kilos of the stuff. It’s hanging off every hanging surface you have: chairs, clotheslines, broom-handles, and now….what to do with all that bounty?! Just a boring old tomato sauce doesn’t make the pasta shine, which you want it to do after all the hard work you’ve put into kneading it and rolling it out. Here’s the perfect recipe: maltagliati alle lenticchie. Maltagliati means “badly cut”, which is a great kind of pasta to make for those of us who are maybe not as perfectionist as others are (um, like me). You can cut the pasta any way, and into any shape, you want. Maltagliati are often made with the side bits of fresh pasta that are abandoned once the rest of the pasta has been made into beautiful ravioli or long perfectly-formed tagliatelle strands. It’s a shame to waste it, as it tastes just as good, and you don’t want to give the castout bits of pasta a complex now, do you?
I suggest using brown or green lentils for this pasta sauce. You want to use a lentil that will hold its shape well once it’s cooked. Generally, the yellow and coral lentils that are used for dishes like dahl turn into mush; delicious mush for sure, but mush none-the-less. I’ve used both green and brown and they both come out very well. Of course, you don’t have to use maltagliati to eat this pasta sauce. You can drape it over any kind of pasta you like, including the dried stuff. It does really go well with fresh pasta though, and if you’re going to actually make the pasta at home, maltagliati are truely the easiest ones to make as you really don’t need any fancy-pantsy pasta machines or cutters. You can just roll out the dough, as thin as you can get it, with a rolling pin, and then cut it with a knife if you don’t have a pizza cutter (like I used). If you don’t have a rolling pin or a knife, you can try ripping it with your teeth, or maybe just go to a restaurant instead. 🙂
This recipe is adapted from a recipe I found in one of the series of La Repubblica cookbooks they put out a few years ago. They take up a whole shelf in my kitchen as there are about 15 volumes, but these things are the bibles of Italian cooking, so they’re worth the space they hog.
Happy pasta making!
To find out how to cook pasta like an Italian does, check out my handy guide.
By Lisa Watson
Fresh hand-cut pasta with lentil sauce
- 350 g Maltagliati 12.5 oz
- 120 g lentils (green or brown) 2/3 cup
- 1 Onion
- 1 clove Garlic
- 1 Bayleaf
- 4 Tomatoes medium-sized
- 1 large handful Parsley
- 1-2 tsp Dried oregano
- 1 crushed optional Dried chilli (perperoncino)
- To make the maltagliati: follow my recipe to make fresh pasta here.
To Make the Sauce:
- Finely slice half the onion. Add it to a pot with the bayleaf and washed lentils. Boil the lentils in lots of water until they are soft, following the packet instructions. Depending on which lentil you choose will depend on how long they take to cook. The brown lentils I used took approximately 30 minutes. (The lentils can be cooked the day before)
- In the meantime, make the rest of the sauce. Halve the tomatoes and remove the seeds. If you like you can also peel them (I didn’t). Cut the tomatoes into small chunks.
- Finely dice the other half of the onion and garlic together.
- Saute the onion/garlic mixture in 3 Tbsp of olive oil until the onion becomes translucent. Add the tomatoes, the chilli (if using) and a pinch of salt, then cook on medium-low for 10 minutes, stirring often.
- Add the lentils, oregano, and chopped parsley. Cook for another 5 minutes.
- Cook the pasta, drain it, then add it to the sauce.