Lentil and Rice Soup

A long long time ago my mom and I would watch Biba's Italian Kitchen on TV.  We loved her and her style of cooking. So it was natural that my mom got me her cookbook. Of course my mom had to borrow it. I still have her page markers in the book with the recipes that she wanted to make.
Tonight's recipe was one of the first one's that I made from the book. For tonight's dinner I prepared the soup yesterday and made the rice separately so it could be added to the heated soup tonight.

Ingredients -
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup minced yellow onion
1/4 pound pancetta, finely chopped
2 tbsp chopped Italian parsley
1/2 pound (1 1/2 cups) brown or green lentils, washed
2 cups chopped canned imported Italian plum tomatoes, with their juice
1 1/2 quarts meat broth or 3 cups canned meat broth and 3 cups water
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup Arborio Rice
1/2 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
2 garlic clove, minced


Method -
Heat the oil in a medium size sauce pan over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, Pancetta and parsley and cook, stirring until the onion and pancetta are lightly golden, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the lentils and stir once or twice. Add the tomatoes and cook a minute or two. Add the broth and bring to a gentle boil. Season salt and pepper. Cover the pot partially and cook over low heat until lentils are tender, 40 to 50 minutes. Stir a few times during cooking.


Bring a small sauce pan of water to a boil and add the rice. Cook, uncovered until rice is tender but still firm to the bite, about 15 minutes. Drain the rice and add it to the soup. Let the soup rest for 20 minutes or so before serving. Serve hot or at  room temperature with a generous sprinkling of freshly grated Parmigiano.

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