Stanley Tucci's Spaghetti with Lentils Recipe

The Emmy winner and host of Stanley Tucci: Searching for Italy shares his recipe for a dish he brings on film sets.

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Photo: Christopher Testani

With a new memoir, Taste (out in October), the star once again has us under his spell, this time as he reveals what food has meant to him throughout his life. At 60, Tucci—an Emmy winner for his food-travel series Stanley Tucci: Searching for Italy—also became a viral sensation with a video of him making a Negroni for his wife, Felicity Blunt, during quarantine. His dry wit carries over to his book, where he laments seeing "a full-grown adult cutting their spaghetti" and shares his recipe for spaghetti with lentils, a dish he brings on film sets "as an antidote to the usually horrid food served off a truck . . . by beleaguered caterers." Tucci shared this recipe and his insights in a PEOPLE exclusive interview to celebrate his selection as one of PEOPLE's 50 Food Faves.


Ingredient Checklist

  • ½ medium yellow onion, finely chopped
  • ½ medium carrot, finely chopped
  • ½ medium celery stalk, finely chopped
  • 1 small garlic clove, sliced
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 1 cup dried brown lentils, rinsed and picked over
  • ½ lb. uncooked spaghetti
  • 1 ½ cups salsa marinara
  • ¾ teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper, plus more to taste


Instructions Checklist

  • Step 1Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-low. Add chopped onion, carrot, celery, and garlic; cook, stirring often, until softened, about 7 minutes. Remove from heat.
  • Step 2Place lentils in a separate medium saucepan. Fill with cold water to a level 1 inch above the lentils. Slowly bring to a simmer over medium; cook, stirring occasionally, until lentils are just tender, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat; set aside.
  • Step 3To break the spaghetti, lay out a clean dish towel, wrap spaghetti in it, and fold ends of towel over. Roll, squeeze, and/or bend bundle until you can feel that spaghetti has broken down into 1- to 1 1/2-inch pieces. Place bundle over a large bowl and unfurl, thus emptying it of all the bits of spaghetti.
  • Step 4Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high. Add spaghetti; cook according to package direction for al dente. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup of the cooking water.
  • Step 5Meanwhile, drain lentils, and add to saucepan with vegetable mixture along with salsa marinara. Bring to a simmer over low. Cover, and cook, stirring occasionally, until lentils have blended with salsa marinara, about 10 minutes. Add drained pasta, along with reserved cooking water; cook, stirring often, until flavors meld, about 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper; drizzle with olive oil. Serve immediately.
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