2/3 cup olive oil
5 medium onions, chopped
8 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 pound bacon, chopped
3 celery stalks, chopped
5-6 carrots, peeled and chopped
3 parsnips, peeled and chopped
12 ounces red lentils, rinsed and picked over
8 cups vegetable broth
1/2 cup tomato paste
1/2 cup uncooked orzo
8 cups water
6 scallions, white and light green parts, thinly sliced
1/2 cup chopped parsley
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
Parmesan cheese, for garnish
Heat the oil in a large soup pot. Add the onions, garlic, and bacon, and sauté over medium heat until the bacon is cooked and the onions are well browned, 6 to 8 minutes.
Stir in the celery, carrots, and parsnips. Cover, and cook until the vegetables are soft, about 5 minutes.
Add the lentils, broth, tomato paste, orzo, and water. Bring to a boil, and then reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, until the lentils and orzo are tender, about 30 minutes.
Just before serving, stir in the scallions, parsley, and zest. Top each serving with grated Parmesan.
bacon recipe source: Soup Night: Recipes for Creating Community Around a Pot of Soup by Maggie Stuckey (Storey Publishing, 2013); relish.com (@relishmagazine)