This is very, very good.
1/2 c French Puy or other green lentils
2 c water or broth
1 or 2 bay leaves, optional
salt and pepper, to taste, divided
6 T extra-virgin olive oil, divided
2 c finely chopped onion
1-1/2 t fresh thyme leaves, or 1/2 t dried thyme
1 bunch kale, stemmed and coarsely chopped
3 c dried pasta (3/4 lb)
Dijon or other mustard, optional
grated Parmesan, optional
1. Bring lentils, water or broth, bay leaves, and some salt to a simmer in a small saucepan. Simmer, uncovered, until lentils are tender but not falling apart, about 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from heat when done.
2. Meanwhile, put 4 T of the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion, some salt and pepper, and stir to coat onions with the oil. Cover, reduce heat to low, and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 20 minutes. Remove lid, increase heat to medium again and cook for another 5 to 10 minutes, stirring a fair bit, until onions are golden brown.
3. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to the boil. Add kale and cook, pushing the leaves into the water as necessary, until just tender, about 5 to 10 minutes, depending on the type of kale you are using. Transfer kale to a colander–do not drain the pot, as you will use the water to next cook the pasta. Press on the draining kale to remove excess liquid. Add kale to onions along with the lentils, stir to combine, put back on a low heat and simmer for a few minutes.
4. Bring kale-cooking water back to the boil. Add pasta and cook to your preference. Reserve 1 cup of the cooking water, then drain pasta in the colander. Add pasta to the skillet with the onion, kale, and lentils. Add some of the cooking water, just enough to keep mixture moist, but don’t let it get soupy. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring and tossing to incorporate all the elements. Season with additional salt and pepper, if you wish, then drizzle with the remaining 2 T of olive oil.
5. Serve, topped with a dollop of mustard and/or sprinkled with Parmesan cheese, if you like.