Make Italian lentil soup with beef shanks by placing beef shanks, potatoes, tomatoes, lentils, herbs and spices in a slow cooker and cooking on low for up to nine hours. Another option is to cook the shanks in a pot. Then, add the rest of the ingredients, and simmer.
In a slow cooker, place 2 or 3 pounds of beef shanks, 3 medium diced potatoes, 1 cup of chopped onion, 1/2 pound of lentils and one can of tomatoes. Add 5 cups of water, five beef bouillon cubes, 2 diced turnips, three stalks of chopped celery and three chopped carrots. Season with 1 teaspoon of salt, 1/4 teaspoon of pepper and 1/4 cup of chopped fresh basil. Cook on low for eight to nine hours before removing the meat from the bones and adding 2 chopped zucchini. Cook for another hour, and serve.
To make this dish without a slow cooker, brown 2 pounds of beef shanks in 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium-high heat, then remove the meat. Add two chopped carrots, two chopped celery stalks, one diced onion, six minced garlic cloves and 1 teaspoon of dried oregano to the remaining oil, and cook for eight minutes. Pour 2 quarts of beef stock and one can of diced tomatoes in the pot. Place the beef back in the pot. Once the soup boils, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer for one hour. Add 2 cups of red lentils, and simmer for another 40 minutes before seasoning with salt and pepper and stirring in 1/4 cup of chopped parsley. Serve the soup topped with sprinkled Parmesan.