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Whole-wheat Pasta

with Lentils and Pancetta

This easy recipe makes a hearty soup/ stew and the taste is enhanced by the pancetta and the white wine!

Adapted from The Complete Mediterranean Cookbook — Serves 4


2 Tbsp. olive oil

4 ounces pancetta or bacon, diced

1 onion, chopped fine

3 small or 2 medium carrots, peeled and cut into small pieces

2 garlic cloves, minced or crushed

3/4 cup green or brown lentils

2- 3 cups cups chicken broth

1 1/2 cups water

1/4 cup dry white wine

4 stalks kale, remove stalk and cut into small pieces- add more if desired

1/2 pound whole- wheat spaghetti or rotini

Salt and pepper

1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

Grated Parmesan cheese


  • Heat 2 Tbsp. olive oil in large soup pot or Dutch oven.  When hot and shimmering add pancetta and cook, about 3-5 minutes, stir occasionally until it begins to brown.  Add onion and carrots and cook 5-7 minutes until softened.  Stir in garlic cook for 30 seconds.

  • Get prepared to cook the pasta and fill a large pot with water and 1 tsp. salt and bring to boil. Start cooking the pasta ten minutes before lentil mixture is cooked.

  • Rinse and sort lentils according to package directions.  Add lentils, broth and water to the cooked vegetables and pancetta mixture and bring to a simmer.  Cover and continue to simmer on low heat for 30-40 minutes or until lentils are cooked and tender. 

  • Cook pasta according to package directions, until al dente.  When cooked, reserve 3/4 cup cooking water and drain.

  • Add wine to the lentil mixture and simmer, uncovered for 2 minutes.  Gradually add the kale a handful at a time until it is cooked, about 5 minutes.

  • Add pasta, reserved cooking liquid, parsley, and toss to combine.  Season with salt and pepper.

  • Serve in a large bowl and top with Parmesan cheese.


If you are not used to cooking with dried beans, lentils are a good way to start.  They cook quickly and don’t need to be soaked before cooking.  The lentils and whole wheat pasta provide protein and fiber while the kale and carrots provide a serving of nutrient dense vegetables.

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