Dinner tonight! Lentils with pancetta recipe

Lentils with pancetta.
(Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times)

Lentils and pancetta — it’s a hearty match made in heaven. And while it works perfectly as a robust side, this dish is substantial enough to work as a main course, flavored with notes of garlic, shallot, a touch of rich olive oil and freshly chopped parsley. Best of all? The whole thing comes together in about an hour.

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Lentils with pancetta

Total time: About 1 hour

Servings: 4

Note: From “Ethan Stowell’s New Italian Kitchen”

2 stalks celery, cut in half

1 onion, halved horizontally

2 cloves garlic

1/2 cup lentils

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

6 ounces pancetta, diced (about 1 cup)

1/2 cup finely diced carrot

1/2 cup finely diced celery

1/2 cup finely diced shallot

3 cloves garlic, sliced

3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Kosher salt, to taste

1. Place the celery, onion, 2 garlic cloves and lentils in a deep saucepan and cover with 1 inch of water. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes, or until the lentils are al dente. Discard the vegetables.

2. Pour the lentils and their liquid into a bowl and place in the refrigerator to cool. When cooled, strain the lentils, reserving 1 cup of the liquid.

3. Heat the butter in a sauté pan over medium heat and add the pancetta. Render the fat from the pancetta and sauté until slightly crisp, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the carrots, celery, shallot and sliced garlic and cook until tender, an additional 3 to 4 minutes.

4. Add the lentils and the reserved cooking liquid, then bring to a boil. Turn off the heat, stir in the parsley and olive oil, and taste for seasoning. Serve hot.

Each serving: 413 calories; 12 grams protein; 20 grams carbohydrates; 6 grams fiber; 32 grams fat; 11 grams saturated fat; 44 mg cholesterol; 3 grams sugar; 382 mg sodium.