Been away in Sardinia hence the lateness of this reply.
I can't really help with the historical verification stuff but as to what constitutes lentils today
in Italy, they are always used whole never split.
The orange split lentils that are used to make soup in the uk do not exist here, ours are always
whole and in their green/brown/grey/black skins.
The basic lentil is usually green skinned and about 5 mm in diameter and this is available all over
Italy. The latium speciality lentil from Norcia (just inside Umbria these days) is a tiny slightly
fatter lentil of about 3 mm in diameter which is highly prized and knocks the other types into a
coked hat for flavour and texture. This lentil is very similar to the 'puy' lentil of the town by
the same name in France, though not black in colour rather a brownish colour instead.
Either of these varieties would make an excellent dish.
> From: Sallygrain@...
> Can anyone help with the origins of lentils and particularly which ones were
> around in Roman times? I have seen a reference to a red stew/pottage in ther
> bible which has been interpreted as lentils but wonder which other types if
> any were around.
> Pliny dosnt rearly help as he is, understandably, not specific enough about
> size and colour.
> sally grainger
> > The best antique Roman recipes are at: http://www.dplanet.ch/users/julien.courtois/orgy/index.html