Thursday, 11 October 2012

Hot from the Pot

Casseruola di Lenticchie e Pancetta con Zucchine Tonde
Bacon and Lentil Casserole with Round Zucchini

Time for a nice, hot serving of comfort food this evening... it is just not right that it is this cold this early! But fear not my friends, for there is many a way to get warm and I know a few of them that entail eating delicious suppers like this one!

Bacon and lentils- a great combination at any time and especially in the colder months make the basis of this dish of hearty goodness. Together with a juicy, mild, round zucchini and a fine dice of a few everyday vegetables, this makes for a relatively quick and tasty treat. Let me tell you how I put it all together...

I started off by sizzling up some finely diced bacon in a dry pan until it was lightly brown- I then removed it and set it to one side. Next, came the round zucchini, cut into 5-6 nice thick slices, which I fried in the residual bacon fat from both sides until it was lightly golden. I seasoned it with salt, pepper, a little oregano, a pinch of cumin seed and a hint of nutmeg.

Out came the zucchini and straight back in went a fine dice of onion, carrot, celery and potato- just about a handful of each. I added a little olive oil and stir-fried these all together for 3-4 minutes, then added a good handful of lentils and a squeeze of tomato paste. Next, I added just enough boiling water to dissolve the tomato paste and to cover the rest of the ingredients, stirred them through one last time and put on the lid to let them simmer for a further 10 minutes. 

In the meantime I pre-heated the oven and got myself a casserole dish ready to put everything together in. I started off by spooning-in half of the lentil mix and then laid the zucchini slices decoratively on top. I sprinkled them with half of the diced bacon, added the rest of the lentils on top and finished it off with the rest of the bacon on top of that... easy!

Into the oven they went to finish stewing for a further 20 minutes at 275°C and a final 2-3 minutes under the broiler to make sure the zucchini slices get a nice golden glow to them and the bacon bits become crispy and delicious. And there you have it! Tasty, hearty, simple and delicious and ready in just 45 minutes! Hope you give this a try some time!

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