Margarita's International Recipes
Egyptian Pasta with Lentils
Kushari holds a similar place to choucroute in my mind: it's a dish that I love with all my heart and mind, just not my taste buds. I love choucroute because I associate with my German-American grandmother, loving it is loving her. Loving kushari, for me, is loving Egypt - losing myself in memories of that carefree college-year-abroad I spent there over two decades ago.
Truth be told, even then I wasn't in love with kushari. It was cheap, it was quintessentially Egyptian and it tasted better than I would have expected. But my heart really belonged to shawarma and fitir. Still, neither of those is really easy to make at home so from time to time I've attempted to bring back Egypt onto my table with a bowl of kushari. I'm almost always disappointed.
Unfortunately, I was this time as well. The recipe was OK, but it wasn't too flavorful and there was nothing compelling about it.
- 1 cup brown lentils
- 1 cup rice
- 1 cup small elbow pasta
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 yellow onions, finely chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, ninced
- 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
- 3 Tbsp. tomato paste
Bring about 4 cups of lightly salted water to a boil in a medium size saucepan. Add the lentils and simmer over medium heat for 25 minutes. Add the rice, turn heat to low, cover, and simmer for 20 more minutes or until the rice is cooked through.
Meanwhile, bring a small pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender, about 8 minutes. Drain.
Also meanwhile, heat the olive oil over medium heat in a deep skillet. Add the onions and cook until they are golden brown, stirring often. Add the garlic, cumin, salt and red pepper flakes and cook for a minute. Add the tomato paste and 1 cup of water. Mix well and simmer until the water mostly evaporates, 5 to ten minutes.
Mix the lentils, rice, pasta and onions together and serve.
Adapted from several recipes.
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