Braised lentils (with vegetables and pancetta)
There are so many ways of cooking lentils in Italy. This is the adaptation of a recipe that I came across many years ago in a book by Giorgio Locatelli. The lenticche di Castelluccio are regarded as the best ones and I really encourage you to try them, instead you can use puy lentils which are widely available.
Heat a couple of tablespoons of olive oil in a pan along with the butter.
Add the pancetta and after a few minutes the chopped vegetables. Sweat them for about 10 minutes, they should have softened by then.
Now add the lentils and cook for another 5 minutes.
Next pour in the stock which should cover the lentils only by 3 cm (you can always add more stock later on if needed) and add the bouquet garni.
Don’t season at this stage the salt hardens the lentils.
Simmer with the lid on for around 40 minutes or a bit longer if needed.
Discard the herbs and season to taste.