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Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add onion and saute' for 5 minutes.
Add garlic, tomatoes, bay leaves and stir for a minute (If you use canned tomatoes or only tomato paste rather than fresh tomatoes, add them along with the ingredients listed below).
Add lentils, cumin, tomato paste, broth, and pepper.
Increase heat and bring to simmer. Place lid on and turn the heat down to medium-low. Simmer for about 20-25 minutes or until lentils are soft.
Taste and adjust the seasoning according to your liking (see notes).*
Add pasta, cook gently over medium heat until al dente. Stir frequently!
If the stew seems too thick, gradually add a touch of water or broth and thin to desired consistency (note: the longer it sits on the stove, the thicker it will get). Taste, you might want to adjust again the seasoning before serving.
Serve with a drizzle of olive oil, freshly ground black pepper, and grated parmesan cheese if you don't keep it vegan. Also, garnish with chili flakes and chopped parsley for extra flavor if you like. Enjoy!