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Alicia Walter's casarecce with lentils and pears recipe

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This pasta recipe which comes courtesy of New York City's Eataly marketplace is an homage to the hearty cooking of Umbria, a region in the heart of Italy. It's a vegetarian dish with rich, creamy flavors from the lentils and a touch of sweetness from the pear.

Ingredients

  • Pinch of salt, plus more to taste
  • ½ lb lentils, preferably from Castelluccio
  • Extra-virgin olive oil, to taste
  • 2 T butter
  • 1 sm red onion, cut into half moons
  • 6-8 sage leaves, cut into sm squares
  • Pinch of pepper, plus more to taste
  • 1 ripe but firm pear, peeled, seeded, and finely diced
  • ½ c red wine
  • 10 oz dried casarecce*

Directions

1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat, and season with salt until salty as the sea.

2. In a saucepan, combine the lentils and enough water to cover by 2 in. Season with salt, to taste.

3. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cook until soft but not mushy. Drain, transfer to a bowl, and toss with olive oil, to taste.

4. In a large sauté pan, melt the butter. Add the onion, sage, and pinch of salt and pepper, and cook until the onion is soft.

5. Add the pear, and cook until soft.

6. Add the wine, and simmer until the alcohol has cooked off.

7. Add the lentils, season with salt and pepper, to taste, and add enough water to form a sauce.

8. Add the pasta to the large pot of boiling water, and cook until al dente. Drain, and add to the sauce. Mix well, and cook the pasta in the sauce for 1 minute. Serve immediately.

Serves: 4

*Editor's note: Strozzapreti are similar.

Suggested wine pairing: Scacciadiavoli, sagrantino di Montefalco DOCG 2008 or Antonelli, sagrantino di Montefalco DOCG 2007

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