Savoury side dishes that mix spiced grains, lentils and pasta are very common in Middle Eastern cookery and this is one of my favourites. It’s wonderful as part of a mezze-style lunch or supper with roast lamb or chicken. Tasty, quick, easy and inexpensive to make, it will quickly become a favourite with your family too. I like the savoury combination of just the cumin, stock and onions but you could also give a little chilli kick too. I’ve also made a version of this to use up chopped leftover BBQ lamb and some fried aubergine pieces stirred through at the end to make a substantial main course supper dish. Yum!
Serves 4 to 6 and takes about 25 minutes.
- 1 large onion, sliced
- 1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons of light olive oil
- 1 tablespoon of extra-virgin olive oil
- 100g large green or brown lentils
- 100g dry tagliatelle nests
- Salt and black pepper
- 1 chicken stock cube
- Large handful of flat-leaf parsley, chopped
- 1 teaspoon of cumin seeds
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- optional: a pinch of chilli flakes or powder
- Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a frying pan, add the cumin seeds and allow them to sizzle for a few minutes. Add and fry the onion and garlic until brown and caramelised. Sprinkle in the ground cumin (plus the chilli option) and a pinch of salt.
- Meanwhile, rinse the lentils in plenty of cold water. Boil them in plenty of water with the chicken stock cube for about 10 to 15 minutes until just tender.
- Break the tagliatelle nests into the stock with the lentils and cook until al dente. I usually look at the pack instructions to see when to add the pasta – I usually cook the lentils for 15 minutes and pasta for 10 so you add the pasta after 5 minutes basically.
- Drain quickly and toss in the extra virgin olive oil and then stir in the onions and the chopped parsley. Check for seasoning and sprinkle with a little extra Maldon salt or freshly ground black pepper to taste.