Lentils with Pancetta Print Email

1/2 pound small lentils
1 carrot, halved
1 onion, halved
1 celery rib, halved
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 ounces pancetta, in one piece
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Sea salt flakes (fleur de sel) and coarsely ground black pepper

Put the lentils in a medium pot, add water to cover by two inches, and bring to a simmer. Add the vegetables, mustard, and pancetta, reduce the heat, and simmer gently until the lentils are just tender, about 20 minutes. Drain, reserving 1/4 cup of the cooking liquid, and transfer to a large bowl.

Remove the vegetables and pancetta from the lentils; discard the vegetables. Coarsely chop the pancetta and add to the lentils. Add just enough of the reserved cooking liquid to moisten the lentils, then add the oil and season with salt and pepper. Serve, or let stand at room temperature for 1 hour to bring out the flavors. (The lentils can be refrigerated for up to 3 days; bring to room temperature before serving.) - serves 6 -

Adapted from Molto Gusto by Mario Batali and Mark Ladner.