Zuppa di lenticchie (spicy lentil soup)
Umbrian cuisine uses the legume family a lot. Chickpeas, lentils, cannellini, borlotti, butter beans and local varieties such as roveja and cicerchia all feature widely.
Castelluccio lentils are king in Umbria. Castellucio itself is another impressive hill top town in the Monti Sibillini hills but the Piano Grande, the flat plateau below Castelluccio, is breathtaking. Completely undeveloped it is a magnificent sight which I recommend to anyone coming to Umbria.
2 tins 800g (28 oz) of un-drained red lentils
1 small onion finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic finely chopped
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon curry powder
Add 3 tablespoons of the olive oil and the onion and garlic to a pan and soften gently over a low heat for 10 minutes without browning. Add the lentils with their juices and turn the heat up so they reach a simmer.
Separately in a small frying pan add the other tablespoon of olive oil and add a teaspoon of curry powder, Brown this lightly and add to the soup. Mix well. I like to whizz the soup in a food processor until it is smooth. However you can opt not to whizz it at all or have it half and half.