This soup was made by my grandmother who, I'm sure, got it from her mother. This soup can be finished either for children with butter and grated Romano cheese or for the more adventurous with oil and cayenne pepper. Either way, it's a quick and satisfying quick soup, especially on those days when you wake up to a chilly rain! I hope you enjoy this recipe. Generally, I just estimate the amounts but here I have tried to come up with the exact ingredients. As always for soups, the amount of liquid is based on your taste. I prefer this soup to have the broth a little thin. I hope you enjoy it!
Place water, lentils, chicken or vegetable base and chopped garlic in a medium covered pot and bring to a boil. Lower heat to a slow simmer and cook covered until lentils are soft. If you need to add water to maintain the "soupyness" do so as necessary.
When lentils are almost soft, in a separate pot, boil pasta until "al dente" (to the tooth). Drain pasta and combine with the cooked lentils and broth. Stir to combine.
MILD FINISH: Add butter and cheese to the soup, stirring until butter is melted and cheese is mixed in. Our kids (and me, as a kid) always want to add a few extra shakes of cheese to their bowls.
SPICY FINISH: On medium heat, warm olive oil in a small pan. Add garlic and cayenne pepper. Swirl the pan a few times during cooking to keep the garlic and pepper from scorching. When garlic is lightly toasted and pepper sinks to the bottom, pour into soup pot. It will make a satisfying sizzling when poured in. Take a ladle full of soup and add back to oiled pan to get any bits left behind and return it to the soup pot. Stir and enjoy!