Braised Italian Lentils and Eggs with Pesto

. July, 2015
Photography by Sarah Tuck.
Braised Italian Lentils and Eggs with Pesto

I recently became re-addicted to lentils, so much so that I made up this recipe as a way of being able to enjoy them any time of day, for breakfast, lunch or dinner.

Serves: 2


200 grams puy lentils
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
100 grams pancetta, chopped
½ onion, peeled and finely chopped
1 stick celery, finely chopped
1 small carrot, finely chopped
1 small zucchini, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
pinch chilli flakes
½ cup chopped flat leaf parsley
a few basil leaves
½ cup basil pesto
2-4 eggs, fried or poached to your liking


Put lentils in a saucepan and cover (by at least 6 or 7cm) with cold water. Add bay leaves, bring to the boil then reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 20-25 minutes. Drain well, rinse under cold running water and drain again. Fold vinegar through.

In a large, deep, sauté pan heat olive oil and cook pancetta over a medium heat for 4-5 minutes until crispy and releasing it's fat. Add onion, celery, carrot and zucchini with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. 

Cook for 15 minutes over a gentle heat until the vegetables are softened. Add garlic and chilli with lentils and cook for 2 minutes, then put aside. Poach or fry 2-4 eggs (depending on how eggy you want to get), give the lentils a final blast to heat through, stir through parsley and serve topped with basil, eggs and pesto, sea salt and a good grinding of black pepper.