Curried Pasta with Spinach and Lentils

Spinach and lentils often paired Indian cuisine. Here, they are given an unusual context when combined with pasta. For a delicious meal, serve with a fresh flatbread and sliced cucumbers in coconut yogurt, embellished with cilantro.

Serves: 6

  • 1/2 cup brown or green lentils (or one 15-ounce can lentils,
    lightly drained, for a shortcut)
  • 8 ounces pasta, any short chunky shape,
    such as shells or rotini
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 small red bell pepper, finely diced
  • 14- to 16-ounce can diced tomatoes, with liquid
  • 1 tablesppon good-quality curry powder or garam masala,
    more or less to taste
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Pinch of nutmeg
  • 8 to 10 ounces baby spinach
  • 1/4 cup raisins, preferably golden
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper

Rinse and sort the lentils and combine them in a small saucepan with 1 1/2 cups water. Slowly bring to a simmer, then cover and simmer very gently for 30 to 40 minutes, until the lentils are tender but still hold their shape. Drain any excess water. Do this step ahead of time.

Cook the pasta in plenty of rapidly simmering water until al dente, then drain.

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large saucepan. Add the onion and garlic and sauté over medium-low heat until golden, stirring frequently. Add the bell pepper and sauté for another 2 to 3 minutes, stirring. Add the tomatoes and spices; bring to a gently simmer, then cover and simmer for 5 minutes longer.

Add the spinach, half at a time if necessary, and cook, covered, until it is just wilted but still bright green. Stir in the cooked lentils and raisins and simmer for another 2 to 3 minutes.

Combine the cooked pasta with the lentil mixture in a large serving container and toss gently. Season to taste with salt and pepper, toss again, and serve.

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