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Tomato & Chestnut Lentil-zotto with Basil and Sun-dried Tomatoes

Tomato & Chestnut Lentil-zotto with Basil and Sun-dried Tomatoes

This is the quickest route I know to the satisfaction of comfort food. The saucy lentils and Parmesan create the type of texture associated with risotto and the taste associated with Bolognaise sauce, but they do it in 6 minutes rather than 20. Once you’ve got this Lentilzotto in your repertoire you can take it beyond the almost instant meal as the ‘zotto’ can become a base for any recipe that uses savoury mince; think towards lasagne, moussaka, chilli or anywhere your imagination takes you.  

By Alex Mackay

This recipe is

  • Low sugar
  • Source of protein
  • Source of fibre
  • Source of folate
  • Counts as one of your 5 a day
  • Serves 2

  • 20 minutes

  • 1 pan

  • Beginner

Suitable for dairy-free, gluten-free, vegans and vegetarians

Whole Chestnuts



  1. Boil your kettle. Get medium sized shallow pan. Add then heat the extra virgin olive oil. Add the halved tomatoes and chestnuts. Season with salt then sauté for 1 minute or until they start to bleed and lightly caramelise. Transfer the tomatoes and chestnuts to a dish.
  2. Add the stock and tinned tomatoes to the pan. Bring to the boil. Add the lentils. Bring back to the boil, stirring constantly. Simmer for a minute or two until the lentils are hot and the texture is creamy.
  3. Add the Parmesan cheese. Stir over a medium heat until it has all melted. Take the pan off the heat. At this stage if you’d like the texture to be more saucy, add a touch of water from your kettle.   Season to taste with salt, sugar and freshly ground black pepper.
  4. Toss the basil with the chestnuts and tomatoes. Scatter them over the top of the Lentilzotto. Serve.

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