Italian Regional Recipes Primi Piatti: Pasta, Rice, Soups

Italian Rice and Lentil Soup

Rice and lentils is a classic warm, rustic and comforting soup of Italian cuisine and is based on legumes and cereals.

Lentils are stewed in an Italian soffritto – onion, celery and carrot italian-soffritto– to which rice is directly added afterwards.
As rice releases all its starch, in this way rice and lentils soup is creamy.

Serves 4, Preparation time 10 mins, Cooking time 25-30 mins

  • 250 g dried brown lentils
  • 180 g Italian rice Roma or Vialone Nano variety or a short-grain common white rice
  • 500 ml vegetable broth
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 white onion
  • 1 small carrot
  • a piece of celery
  • salt and extra virgin olive oil, to taste
  • Optional: a few pieces of pancetta (pork belly) or lard
  • Optional: a sprig of rosemary
  • Optional: a couple of ripe cherry tomatoes or a tbsp of tomato sauce


If you are going to use dry lentils, you have to put them in a large sieve and rinse them under running water. Then boil them for about 20 minutes.

Dice carrot, celery and onion for soffritto.

Heat a couple of tablespoons of Evoo in a large saucepan, add soffritto along with garlic and bay leaf (or rosemary sprig) and fry them for 1 minute.

Tip: if you want to add pieces of pancetta or lard, do it now and let it fry with soffritto.

Add lentils.

Stir and let it flavour for 2 minutes on high heat, then add 2 ladles of broth, salt to taste, tomatoes if any and let it stew covered with a lid for 20 minutes.

Then add 2 more ladles of broth, let it boil, add the rice and remove both garlic and bay leaf – or rosemary sprig.

Cook the rice and lentil soup on a low heat for 15 minutes, adding hot broth whenever necessary and tasting to adjust with salt.

Ready and serve with a drizzle of Evoo.

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