When Gino visited Umbria he met a farmer named Ettore, who made it his mission to cultivate organic lentils using traditional methods. He showed him the old machine he uses for sorting and cleaning the pulses – the same one he used as a child.
For lunch Gino made this salad from his beautiful lentils, combining them with roasted butternut squash, locally grown walnuts, cranberries and other ingredients – it’s a really exciting mix of contrasting flavours, colours and textures.
– 400g butternut squash, cut into 1cm cubes
– 2 tablespoons olive oil
– 400g dried green lentils
– Grated zest and juice of 2 lemons
– 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
– 3 spring onions, thinly sliced
– 1 cucumber, peeled, deseeded and diced
– 75g walnut pieces
– 50g dried cranberries, finely chopped
– 3 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
– Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Pre-heat the oven to 180c/gas mark 4. Put the squash in a large roasting tin, drizzle with the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast for 25-30 minutes or until soft and slightly golden – then leave to cool.
Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil over a high heat. Add the lentils and cook for about 18-20 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Drain well and leave to cool.
Meanwhile, to make the dressing, put the lemon juice in a small bowl. Slowly add the extra virgin olive oil, whisking constantly, until combined. Add some sea salt and pepper.
Place the lentils and squash in a large bowl and add the lemon zest, spring onions, cucumber, walnuts, cranberries and parsley. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss.
Hungry for more…See What’s On TV for Gino’s Italian Escape