1 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
Extra-virgin olive oil
400g tomatoes, peeled, deseeded
1 tsp chilli flakes
300g ditalini pasta or other small soup pasta
Grated pecorino or parmesan, to serve
1 small onion, halved
1 celery stick
1 bay leaf
1. Cook the lentils in lightly salted water with the onion, celery, bay leaf and a splash of olive oil until they are soft – about 25–30 minutes. Once cooked, drain and discard the vegetables and bay leaf.
2. Sauté the onion and garlic in a good splash of olive oil over medium heat until softened. Stir in the tomatoes and chilli flakes and continue to cook until the tomatoes begin to break up. Add the drained lentils plus 1 litre of water and simmer gently for 10 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, cook the pasta in plenty of salted boiling water according to packet instructions until al dente. Drain and add to the soup, then simmer for 2–3 minutes. To serve, sprinkle with some grated pecorino and drizzle with olive oil.