1 T fresh parsley
1/2 tsp fresh thyme
1 stalk celery
4 cups veal or beef broth, or good water
Rinse and soak the lentils overnight. Cut the prosciutto end into thumbnail-sized cubes. Be sure to include the fatty skin. .In a skillet with olive oil, fry the pieces lightly. Put the drained pieces in a stockpot, retain the oil to fry the vegetables. Chop the onion, carrot and celery, then fry in the same skillet until softened but not browned. Put all, including oil in stockpot.
Add drained lentils, chopped parsley and thyme. Mama used very little thyme, so use a light hand. . Add broth or water. (No chlorine tasting water please!) Cover and simmer approximately two hours over low heat. The skin of the prosciutto should be soft-chewy, not tough, when done.
Serve hot with a really good bread and a salad.
I don't typically soak the lentils; I don't usually plan ahead that well and I don't see the soup suffers. Ask your deli if they have the ends of the Prosciutto, about 5' long, that are left over after the nice large slices are sold. You'll get all the flavor at a greatly reduced cost. You could also substitute ham and/or hambone, or even a good Italian sausage. Drink the Mafalda wine with this. It has a large amount of Cabernet Franc in the blend, which works well with the Prosciutto.Make a toast to Mamas everywhere, and enjoy.