This Sicilian Lentil Pasta is one of those ‘as simple as it gets’ dishes. If you love lentils and pasta you have to make this! Since lentils have no particularly strong flavor on their own, pancetta, fresh herbs along with a little chili flake kick helps to transform them and bring out their natural flavor.
Also known as pasta e lenticchie alla Siciliana (now that’s an Italian mouthful) or Sicilian-style lentil pasta, this perfect winter warmer is originally a peasant dish that can be served as a perfect main dish (or as a side dish) with your favorite protein.
The sauce can be prepared 1 of 2 ways: You can make it either soupy or saucy (per the recipe) or allow most of the liquid to reduce, for a thicker texture that coats the pasta.
Speaking of the pasta, I have made this dish in the past using a large rigatoni but the lentils get buried under the weight of the pasta so decided to change it up and started using small (and very cute) ditalini – the outcome is much better.
This is not a vegetarian dish, but it would not take much tweaking to make it so. Simply omit the pancetta and switch the chicken stock/broth for veggie stock/broth. Or, you could chop up vegan bacon or sausage in place of the pancetta. Still a fantastic flavor combination.
Which lentils are best to use for lentil pasta?
I would say whatever you can find. I used brown lentils, but green or red can also be used for a bit of color variation.
Lentils are widely used in Sicilian cooking and while my husband and I have not made the trip to Sicily yet, we have visited Italy many times and sampled some amazing authentic pasta dishes. Sicilians eat lentils as a symbol of good luck and prosperity – so eat up your lentils, they’re good luck and good for you!
Lentils are cooked pancetta, vegetables and fresh herbs then mixed with small pasta.
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time35 minutes
Total Time45 minutes
2 tablespoons olive oil
3/4 cup (85 grams/3 ounces) pancetta, diced
4 ounces (113 grams) brown mushrooms, finely chopped
1 cup (128 grams) yellow onion, finely chopped
2 stalks celery, finely chopped
2 small or 1 large carrot, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped or grated
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary chopped
2 tablespoons tomato paste
Small pinch dried chili flakes
1 cup (240 grams) dried lentils, rinsed (any type you like)
4 cups (1 liter) low sodium chicken stock/broth
1/2 teaspoon salt or to taste
2 1/4 cups (305 grams) ditalini or any small pasta
1 cup (40 grams) Parmesan cheese, grated
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
Add the olive oil to a large sauté pan over medium heat Add the pancetta, mushrooms, onion, celery and carrots. Cook until the vegetables soften, about 6 minutes. Add the garlic and rosemary, cook for 2 more minutes, stirring so the garlic doesn't burn.
Add the tomato paste and stir to mix into the vegetables. Stir in the chili flakes. Add the lentils and stock/broth and stir. Bring to a simmer, cover and cook for 30 minutes or until lentils are tender.
While the lentils cook bring a large pan of water to a boil. Cook the pasta according to package directions.
When the lentils are cooked, stir in the salt and and add more if needed depending on how salty your stock is (salt is added after as it can take longer to cook the lentils if you add salt first).
When the pasta is done, scoop out a cups worth of starchy water and set aside. Drain the pasta and add to the lentil sauce along with the Parmesan and mix well. If it is too dry, add a little of the pasta water or make it the consistency you like.
Serve topped with chopped parsley.
Amount Per ServingCalories 575Saturated Fat 4gCholesterol 14mgSodium 235mgCarbohydrates 81gProtein 24g
32 Comments on “Sicilian Lentil Pasta”
So delish!! I used spicy chicken bone broth along with the pepper flakes and it hit the mark. A new staple on the rotation. Excellent recipe. Thank you for sharing.
Thank you so much for the feedback, I love the idea of the spicy bone broth.
Am going to try this recipe. does it freeze well?
The pasta does freeze well. To reheat, defrost in the fridge overnight, then either microwave or in a pan (on low heat) with a little chicken stock as it may dry out. I hope this helps and enjoy 🙂
Hi! Love this recipe. Trying to log into my ww app.. how many servings does this recipe contain?
This recipe serves 4 people. I hope this helps and works with your WW points.
Hi Janette, I can’t seem to find the note about onions. Can you help?
There is actually no note regarding the onions. Enjoy the pasta and please come and let me know how it turned out.
says clearly – One C chopped onion
So easy and tasty. I added just enough flakes so the kids would eat it and the flavor is very good.
I love it when my recipes are kid approved 🙂
What a healthy combination pasta! I love the idea of combining lentils and pasta ans love your photo!
This looks awesome! Thank you for sharing.
I need this pasta asap! I love everything about it, especially the lentils! This meal immediately makes me think of dishes my grandmother makes! Great recipe!!
I’ve just re-read the recipe, Janette and seen the pancetta! I’m so sorry I missed it! It would make the dish even more delicious although of course it’s not vegetarian like I said -oops!!
How warm and welcoming is this dish Janette! Pinned and shared! YUM!
This looks like a very hearty meal. I have used lentils in pasta but I blended it with the sauce. This is a much better idea. I like seeing the lentils in the pasta.
Ohhhh this is sooo lovely!!! I love lentils! Just had rice with lentils for lunch today 🙂 This may be on my list of things to make! I love how the sauce just grabs onto the rigatoni…
Looks so delicious Janette! Never had pasta with lentils, but will definitely try this recipe! I’ve been to Italy, but never visited Sicily 🙁 Pinned!
Scilly is one of my favorite places in all of Italy, particularly Taormina! I never knew that Sicilians traditionally combine pasta and lentils, in fact I don’t think I’ve ever had pasta and lentils but it sounds absolutely wonderful and it sounds totally delicious! I have to make this!
Instead of pancetta try Italian sausage without the casing absolutely delicious
This sounds delicious, thank you for sharing.
says clearly 1 C chopped onion.
Oh my this looks good! I think I may need to make this for dinner this week! Yum!
What a delightful summer meal!
Love the look of this pasta.
Thank you Peter, it was pretty tasty 🙂
Love this. Looks de-licious!!!
Thank you so much Nancy
Lots of flavor and textures and just a great new recipe.
Thank you so much Patty