Hearty Italian Soup

Recipe courtesy of Psychologies Magazine (December 2015) and taken from At Home with Umami by Laura Santtini.

soupsServes : 4-6

Ingredients :
75g pancetta, finely chopped
1 onion, finely chopped
1 stick of celery, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
3 garlic cloves, chopped
3 bay leaves
200g each fresh shiitake and chestnut mushrooms
small handful of dried porcini mushrooms, soaked in 250ml hot water
200g puy lentils
1 tblsp tomato puree
1 large glass (175ml) red wine
2 tblsp soy sauce
1 can chopped tomatoes, plus 1 can of water
2 chicken stock cubes dissolved in 1 litre of water
100g cavolo nero, shredded

Step One : Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large pan, brown the pancetta, remove and set aside.  Add onion, celery, carrots, garlic and bay leaves, then cook over a low heat until the onion is soft and glassy, but not coloured.  Add the fresh mushrooms and stir well until they begin to soften.

Step Two : Remove the porcini and chop, reserving the soaking juice.  Return porcini to the pan with lentils; stir.  Cook for 2-3 minutes, then add pancetta, tomato puree, wine and soy sauce.

Step Three : Turn up the heat and, once the red wine has almost evaporated, pour in the reserved porcini mushroom liquid, taking care not to let the gritty bits fall into the pot.  Add the stock.  Reduce the heat and simmer for about 30 minutes, or until the lentils are cooked but not too soft.  Stir in the cavolo nero, five minutes before the end of cooking.  Stir well, ladle into bowls and scatter over parsley and grated Pecorino cheese.

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