Editor's note: Philadelphia food writers Joy Manning and Tara Mataraza Desmond drop by each week with Meat Lite, which celebrates meat in moderation. Meat Lite was inspired by their book, Almost Meatless.
Ingredient epiphanies happen when you suddenly realize how delicious two items are together. Before I made this ragout, I never combined tomatoes and lentils like this. The lentils are hearty and meaty, and the dish's sauciness is great when you feel like a pasta dish but want to eat something substantially more nutritious. This would also make for a nice appetizer spread over a slice of crusty Italian bread.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 6 ounces hot Italian sausage, crumbled
- 2 medium carrots, diced fine
- 1 medium onion, diced fine
- 1 cup lentils
- 2 cups tomato sauce, homemade or jarred
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Shaved Parmesan cheese, for garnish
Heat the olive oil up over medium-high heat in a medium sauce pan. Add the sausage, and cook until brown, about 5 minutes. Remove the sausage and reserve.
Add the carrots and onion to the pan, and cook, stirring often, until softened, about 10 minutes. Add the lentils, and 1 1/2 cups water. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Simmer on low with the lid on for 15 to 20 minutes, until the water is absorbed and the lentils are tender.
Return the reserved sausage and add the tomato sauce, vinegar, and salt and pepper, and simmer for another 10 minutes. Serve over soft polenta, pasta, or alone, topped with a generous amount of Parmesan cheese.