This member of the pasta fagioli family is essentially Roman in character, and is rather more enterprisingly spiced than most Italian dishes. Northern Italians refer to Romans as Arabs and not politely, seeing themselves as essentially North European, and the Romans as belonging to the sensuous exotic south, to the Mediterranean. The Romans should be proud of the Arab connection shown so clearly in this dish.
Soak the lentils for 1 hour in cold water to cover, then rinse.
Break the dry spaghetti into 2 cm lengths. Bring the lentil mix back to the boil. It should be approximately half liquid, but if it is a little dry, add some water. Add the spaghetti, return to a boil, and cook for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Switch off the heat, cover and leave for 10 minutes. As with the previous recipe, the pasta will continue cooking during the resting period, and will absorb a great deal of the liquid.
Serve with the Parmesan and infused oil.
© 1996 Alastair Little. All rights reserved.