2 tablespoons olive oil
1 stick celery
1 carrot, peeled
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 teaspoon each ground cumin, coriander and smoked paprika
2 bay leaves
½ cup red lentils
1 x 400 gram tin crushed tomatoes
5 cups chicken or vegetable stock
4 large stalks silver beet, sliced thinly
1 cup small raw pasta shapes, cooked (I used gnocchetti)
4 sausages, skins removed (I used 2 spicy merguez and 2 pork)
handful chopped flat-leaf parsley
Parmesan for shaving, optional
sea salt and freshly ground pepper
Base: Slice all the vegetables thinly. Heat the oil in a large saucepan and add the vegetables, garlic, spices and the bay leaves. Season well then cover and cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, adding a splash of water if the pan is too dry.
Stir in the lentils, tomatoes and the stock and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes.
To serve: Add the silver beet and cooked pasta and cook for 5 minutes or until the silver beet is tender.
Heat a sauté pan with a little oil. Add the sausages and cook over a high heat until cooked, golden and crispy, breaking them up into small pieces with a wooden spoon. Drain on paper towels.
Stir the parsley into the soup then ladle into bowls. Top with the sizzled sausages and a shaving of Parmesan if using.
Cook’s tip: I prefer to cook the pasta separately then add it to the soup, especially if making the soup ahead. The pasta absorbs masses of liquid if left for a few hours and becomes very soggy.