Today, a variation on a recipe I found online for a hearty lentil soup that fits the bill perfectly for cold winter days.
In a large pot over medium heat, combine 2 Tbsp butter and 2 Tbsp olive oil. Add the following chopped: 1 medium onion, 2 stalks celery, 2-3 carrots, 3 garlic cloves. Add 1/2 pound ground beef or sausage (omit if veggie) and saute until onions are translucent and meat is cooked – about 8 minutes.
Add 4 chopped tomatoes (or 1 large can) and stir until they break down slightly. Add 1.5 cups dried lentils, 4 sprigs fresh thyme (or 1-2 tsp dried) and 6 cups chicken (or vegetable) broth; bring to simmer and cook for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add salt & pepper to taste, and additional broth if it’s too thick for your liking. Stir in 1 cup dried pasta of choice – macaroni, wheels, spirals, etc. Simmer until pasta is firm but cooked, about 8-10 minutes. Remove thyme sticks. Serve with sprinkle of fresh parmesan on top.