Lentils and Shells with Cilantro-Scented Onions and Swiss Chard
Chard is a lovely green in the beet family that can be be used like spinach - it is lovely stir-fried, added to scrambled eggs, thrown in a quiche or in pasta like this...
- 1 cup green (Le Puy) or black (Beluga) lentils
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 thyme sprigs
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 bunch swiss chard , the leaves torn off the stems into strips
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 large onions , sliced 1/4 inch thick
- 1 cup chopped cilantro
- 1/2 tsp ground cumin
- 3 tbsp chopped mint
- 1 large lime
- 1/2 lb small pasta shells (I used conchiglie)
Simmer the lentils in 6 cups water with the bay leaf and thyme and 1/2 tsp salt until very soft but not mushy, about 35 minutes or so. If there is still water left in the pot, pour out most of it, leaving just enough that the lentils stay moist. Cover and let stand when finished.
Bring a pot of water to a boil for the pasta.
While the lentils are cooking, heat 2 tbsp of the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat.
Add the onions and cook, stirring frequently, until golden, about 20 minutes. Stir in the cilantro, cumin and mint. Turn off the heat and squeeze the limes over the onions. Season with salt and pepper.
When the pasta water boils, add salt and the pasta and cook until al dente. Scoop it out with a slotted spoon and add it to the lentils.
Add the chard to the pot and cook until just wilted, 2-3 minutes. Add the chard to the lentils and pasta.
In a large bowl, toss the lentils, pasta and spinach with the onions.
Taste for salt and season with pepper.