Sicilian Lentil Pasta is a light and easy dish that is a little like a lentil Bolognese sauce with a nice bite from mushrooms and a lot of flavor from pancetta.  The lentils give the dish body, with sweetness from carrots and a nice hearty pasta bite from the rigatoni.

2 white bowls of lentil pasta with Parmesan cheese


Lentils and rigatoni are a traditional Italian pairing. My husband is Sicilian and this is his favorite pasta dish that I make for him. Traditionally broken spaghetti is served with the lentils, but I wanted to make it more of a pasta dish.

A fork full of pasta and lentils

Lentils are widely used in Sicilian cooking and while we 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!

A closeup showing the large rigatoni pasta coasted in lentil sauce

If you’re looking for more pasta dishes, I have a few diverse options. Linguine with ShrimpTraditional Spaghetti Carbonara, or a classic Lasagna Bolognese. (< click on text for recipe link)

A white bowl filled with pasta and lentils

If you’ve tried this Sicilian Lentil Pasta or any other recipe on the blog then don’t forget to rate the recipe and let me know how it turned out in the comments below. I love to hear from my readers!

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Yield: 4 servings

Sicilian Lentil Pasta

Rigatoni pasta in a white bowl mixed in a lentil vegetable sauce

Lentils are cooked with mushrooms, pancetta and carrots mixed with rigatoni.

Prep Time 3 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 43 minutes


  • 1 cup dry brown lentils, rinsed
  • Salt
  • 1/2 medium onion
  • 2 stalks celery, roughly chopped
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 ounces pancetta, diced
  • 2 ounces cremini mushrooms, finely chopped * see note
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped * see note
  • 2 stalks celery, finely chopped * see note
  • 2 medium carrots, finely chopped * see note
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped or grated
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 ounces rigatoni pasta
  • Freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped


  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
  2. Add a good handful of salt (the water should taste like ocean water, not too salty)
  3. Add the lentils, 1/2 onion and celery
  4. Bring back to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes
  5. While they cook add the olive oil to a large sauté pan over medium heat
  6. Add the pancetta, mushrooms, onion, celery and carrots
  7. Cook until the vegetables soften, about 6 minutes.
  8. Add the garlic and cook for 2 more minutes, stirring so the garlic doesn't burn
  9. Add the tomato paste and stir until well mixed
  10. Drain the lentils and add to the vegetables along with 1 cup of the liquid.
  11. Lower the heat, cover and simmer for 5 minutes until the vegetables are tender.
  12. Remove the lid and cook for 3 more minutes until the sauce thickens.
  13. Add pepper and taste, adjust seasoning as needed
  14. Bring the lentil water back to a simmer and add the pasta, cook according to package directions
  15. When the pasta is done, drain and add to the lentil sauce and mix well
  16. Serve in bowls and top with parmesan and parsley


* Make sure all these vegetables are cut the same size

Nutrition Information

Amount Per Serving Calories 575Saturated Fat 4gCholesterol 14mgSodium 235mgCarbohydrates 81gProtein 24g

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