¼ cup olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
8 ounces cremini mushrooms, chopped into ¾ inch pieces
1 Teaspoon kosher salt
2 fresh cloves garlic coarsely chopped
1 cup brown lentils. Rinsed twice.
¼ cup double-concentrated tomato paste
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
10 ounces orecchiette pasta
1 ½ oz. parmesan, finely grated plus extra for topping
3 Tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
½ cup coarsely chopped fresh parsley, plus more for garnish
Heat oil in a large Dutch oven or heavy pot over medium heat.
Add onions and mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until mushrooms are deeply brown and starting to stick to the bottom of the pan.
Season with kosher salt.
Add garlic, lentils, tomato paste, and red pepper flakes until tomato paste darkens slightly and lentils are coated, about 2 more minutes
Add 7 cups water and bring to a boil.
Reduce heat and simmer for approx. 12-14 minutes. Lentils should be tender but still have some bite.
Add uncooked pasta and 1 teaspoon salt and bring to a boil.
Reduce heat and simmer gently, stirring often and adding extra water if needed – about 10-14 minutes.
Remove pot from heat and stir in parmesan cheese, butter, and ½ cup minced parsley
Divide into four bowls and top with more parmesan and chopped parsley.