Pantacce, the Wonder Pasta and Lentil Soup

Pantacce pasta is my new favourite shape. I’ve mentioned this shape before in my occasional Pasta of the Week series. Made by Molisana, another company using the bronze die extraction method ( look for the words trafilatura al bronzo on the pasta packet), it is a comforting shape and texture ideal for hearty soups, resembling maltagliati but more regular in shape.

pasta pantacce

The following soup recipe was found in Stefano de Piero’s timeless classic, Modern Italian Food. De Piero’s original recipe, Pasta Butterflies with Lentils, is listed under the pasta chapter and it’s one of those crossover dishes: pasta or soup, the titles in Italian often refer to the main components, and it’s really up to you how you label it. Other examples of this duality include Pasta e Fagioli, Ceci e Pasta, Risi e Bisi. De Piero’s recipe includes hand-made pasta butterflies: I have substituted pantacce, a pasta that resembles hand-made pasta when cooked. I have also substituted a rich home made vegetable stock for the chicken stock in the original recipe. Either will do nicely.

Zuppa di Lentiche con Pantacce.

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon EV olive oil
  • 1 carrot, peeled and finely diced
  • 1 small onion, peeled and finely diced
  • 1 stick celery, finely diced
  • 2 medium potatoes, such as Dutch Cream or Nicola, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 200 g Australian Puy style lentils
  • one small cup of Molisana pantacce pasta, or other flat pasta to suit*
  • 2 litres of good stock
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 cup Italian tomato passata
  • freshly grated parmesan, parmigiano padano or reggiano
  •  EV olive oil for serving


Heat the butter and oil in a large heavy based pan and gently sauté the carrot, onion and celery until they soften. Add the potatoes and stir well. Add the lentils and the warm stock and cook for around 25-35 minutes or until the lentils are tender and the potatoes have broken down. Season with salt and pepper.

While the lentils are cooking, cook the pasta pantacce in a separate pot of boiling salted water.

When the lentils and potatoes are soft, add the tomato passata, stir through, then add the cooked pasta. The soup should now be quite rich and thick.

Serve with a good drizzle of EV olive oil and some grated parmigiano, or omit the lovely veil of cheese if you prefer a vegan version.

*If you don’t have Pantacce, tear up a few lasagne sheets into rough shapes, or break up some curly edged strips of Lasagnette or Malafdine.

Modern Italian Food, Stefano de Piero. Hardie Grant Books, 2004.

Stefano de Piero is another energetic Italo- Australiano who has contributed greatly to the food scene in Australia over the last 30 years or more.

18 thoughts on “Pantacce, the Wonder Pasta and Lentil Soup”

  1. What a fun shape and one I’ve not cooked. I must look for it on my next trip to the Italian grocer. The soup has all the ingredient it takes for a warming fall soup and up here that’s going to be needed very soon. Thanks for sharing a great sounding soup recipe.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Ron, Your Italian delis seem well stocked with good pasta, though you can always make some rags or maltagliata instead, if feeling like a day in the kitchen as the colder months descend.


  2. *Sunday morning laugh* – Now: where did my di Piero book go ? And do you know how the dear boy is . . . I still have to get down to Mildura ! And, in my ‘part’ of the world’ he has not been very vocal lately . . . . Very good stock, and passata on the table ere one begins . . . I shall . . ..

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I haven’t heard much of di Piero lately either. But I did go to his basement restaurant in Mildura in 2009, it was superb, and wouldn’t mind heading up that way again.


    1. One day I’ll have a go at making those butterlfies Dale. Hope you enjoy the Molisana range. One thing I noticed with it- it always needs a tad more cooking time than suggested on the packet- not so much for this pantacce shape but for some of their thicker shapes.


  3. Just had to do a quick google of bronze die extrusion and how it makes the pasta better, thanks for that lead! We have Molisana pasta stocked all the way out here in NZ in a high end grocery shop which I just love because I also love Molise and it gives me a little thrill when I see it. 🙂 Just need to find someone out here selling Tintilia wine!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, glad you can get this brand. It retails here in Australia for around $2.99 a packet. Other brands that use this bronze extrusion method and are lovely pastas include de Cecco and Gentile, the latter being a bit pricier. Some swear by Garofolo ( a brand found in Coles, a major Australian supermarket ), I don’t thinkit’s in teh same league as the above, but worth using when stuck. The worst brand is Barilla, a brand that dominates world markets, but comes out flabby, white and tasteless.
      Memories of Molise, how lovely. Must look out for that wine.


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