Kitchen Exhibitionist
The Culinary Quests of a Food Enthusiast Stuck in the Sticks
Wednesday, April 18, 2007
Convenience Food Confessions - Fast & Hearty Pasta with Lentils
Convenience Food Confessions - Fast & Hearty Pasta with Lentils

I am not a fan of convenience foods, so I rarely use them. Most of those shortcut products are over-salted and laden with chemicals and preservatives that I cannot pronounce and certainly don’t wish to eat. And they are never anywhere near as good as what I can make myself, from scratch.

That said, I must confess that there are a few favorite convenience products that I use on a regular basis and I’m not ashamed to admit it. I’ve previously sung the praises of Mae Ploy curry paste here and DaVinci flavored syrups here and here .

Here is another one I recommend, along with the simple recipe in which I use it. The secret convenience ingredient of this pasta dish with a savory lentil sauce is a can of Progresso Lentil Soup. Not only is this dish so delicious that I often crave it, it has many other redeeming values. It requires only a handful of ingredients (all pantry staples), it takes just minutes to prepare, and it can satisfy multiple dietary preferences including low fat and vegetarian.

The finishing touch of a few drops of sherry vinegar tossed in at the table really brightens it up.

Fast & Hearty Pasta with Lentils
Adapted from The No-Time-To-Cook Cookbook
Yield: 4 servings

12 ounces small shell pasta or other pasta
1 19-oz. can Progresso lentil soup
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
freshly ground black pepper
freshly grated Parmesan cheese
sherry vinegar

Bring a 4-quart pot of water to a rolling boil. Add the pasta, and cook according to package directions.

While the water is heating up, place the soup in a 1-quart saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally until hot. Stir in the garlic powder and black pepper.

Drain the pasta well, and return it to the pot. Pour the soup on top, and toss well.

Spoon the pasta into individual dishes. Top each with a tablespoon of Parmesan, and a few drops of sherry vinegar.

Yield: 4 servings

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