Castelluccio Lentils

A traditional Umbrian “poor man’s” dish, not necessarily recommended only during the colder seasons. Castelluccio lentils embody the best of the food served in Umbria: salami, vegetables, meat and naturally a great extra-virgin olive oil.
  • Difficulty Easy
  • Preparation time 15 minutes
  • Cooking time 2h
  • Serves 4


  • 1 and ½ cups dry Castelluccio lentils
  • 2 tbsps Filippo Berio Umbro Gran Cru Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, minced
  • 1 celery stalk, finely chopped
  • 4 carrots, finely diced
  • 100 gr guanciale or pancetta (pork cured jowl), diced
  • ¼ teaspoon red chili pepper flakes
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 6 sage leaves, minced
  • 1 tbs fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 7 cups chicken broth or water, plus extra as needed
  • 3 tbsps canned San Marzano Tomatoes, pureed
  • sea salt to taste
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • toasted bread


Rinse the lentils, strain them and set aside. Heat 1 tbsp of Filippo Berio Umbro Gran Cru Extra Virgin Olive Oil in a 2-quart pot and add the onion, celery, carrots, guanciale or pancetta, chili, garlic, sage, and thyme.
Cook 10 minutes over low heat, covered, or until the onion is soft and golden, stirring frequently. Increase the heat to medium and cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly.
Add lentils and bay leaf, and cook over medium high heat for 2 minutes, stirring gently. Add the broth or water (it should cover the lentils by 1 inch), tomatoes, and the salt. Bring to a boil, stir and cover. Cook over medium-low heat for 1 hour or until the lentils are soft, adding a little more broth or water if needed. The consistency should be thick, not soupy. Season with more salt to taste.

Wine pairing

This dish is distinguished by an excellent combination of acidity from the tomatoes, and the richness and succulence of bacon. Consequently, it should be paired with a wine that does not have a high alcohol content but is well structured, like an Orvietano Rosso DOC from Umbria or a Lagrein from Alto Adige.