Riso e lenticchie (Rice and Lentils)

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| Servings: Serves 4 to 6


  • 250g (8 oz) dried lentils, soaked overnight (see Notes)
  • 250g (8 oz) rice (see Notes)
  • 75g (3 oz) pancetta, diced
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 2-3 canned tomatoes, chopped or simply crushed in your hand (optional)
  • A small sprig of fresh rosemary (optional)
  • Lard or olive oil
  • Broth or water, q.b.

For toppings:

  • Best-quality olive oil
  • Grated pecorino or Parmesan cheese
  • Freshly grated black pepper


  1. Start by making a soffritto: Sauté the pancetta in the lard or olive oil until it has rendered much of its fat and is just beginning to crisp. Add the onion and continue until the onion is soft and translucent, taking care not to brown it at all. Then add the garlic, give the soffritto a turn. If using tomatoes, add them now, and let them simmer until they melt into a little sauce.


  2. As soon as the garlic begins to give off its aroma, add the pre-soaked lentils, which you will have rinsed under cold water and drained very well. Mix the lentils and soffritto well, and let the lentils simmer for a few minutes to absorb the flavors.


  3. Then add enough water or broth to cover the lentils by about 3 cm/1 inch. Cover and simmer the lentils over low heat for about 30 minutes or so, until the lentils are just about tender, stirring from time to time and checking to make sure they haven’t dried out. (Add more water or broth if needed.)


  4. Add the rice and a couple more ladlefuls of water or broth to the pot. Give it a stir and cover again, let the rice simmer until tender, about 10-20 minutes depending on the variety. Once again, stir from time to time and check to make sure things aren’t drying out. Rice, like lentils, absorbs quite a bit of liquid. Adjust the amount of liquid to suit your tastes—the dish can be quite brothy if you like, but is usually served thick, more stew than soup.


  5. Serve your Rice and Lentils hot, with one or more of the suggested toppings if those who like them.

Source: Memorie di Angelina

Riso e lenticchie (Rice and Lentils) – The Finished Meal

Riso e lenticchie (Rice and Lentils) – The Finished Meal

Cooking the lentils with the pancetta, onions and tomato sauce.

Sauteing the pancetta and the onions in lard.