Lentil Crostini

(from saymyname’s recipe box)

Source: In 'Lidia Cooks From the Heart of Italy' by Lidia Bastianich

Serves 6 people

Categories: Appetizers, Italian, Lentils


  • 1 cup small lentils (preferably lenticchie di Castelluccio)
  • 2 medium stalk celery, with leaves, finely chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 2 bay leaves, preferably fresh
  • 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 2 plump garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes, to taste
  • 2 cups canned Italian plum tomatoes, preferably San Marzano, crushed by hand
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 12 slices Italian bread


  1. Rinse the lentils and put them in a 3-4 quart saucepan with the celery, bay leaves, and 3 cups cold water.

  2. Bring to a boil, cover the pan, and adjust the heat to maintain a gentle, steady simmer.

  3. Cook until the lentils are almost tender, about 20 minutes (or longer, depending on size).

  4. Meanwhile, add 4 tablespoons oil into a large skillet or saute pan; set it over medium heat.

  5. Stir in the garlic and onion; cook for 5 minutes or more, until the onion is soft and glistening.

  6. Drop the pepper flakes into a hot spot in the pan and let toast for a minute, then stir in the crushed tomatoes, season with 1 teaspoon salt, and bring the sauce to a simmer.

  7. Let it bubble gently about 5 minutes, until slightly thickened.

  8. When the lentils are just slightly undercooked, pour into their pan all the tomato sauce from the skillet, and stir into the lentils.

  9. Return the sauce to the simmer, and cook, partially covered, until the lentils are fully cooked and tender, about 10 minutes.

  10. Remove the cover and stir in the remaining teaspoon salt, and let the lentils cook slowly, stirring frequently, until they are very thick and starting to fall apart, another 10 minutes or so.

  11. Remove the pan from the heat, and stir in the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil.

  12. For crostini: grill or toast the bread slices; spoon a mound of lentils on each crostini and drizzle with a bit of fine olive oil.

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