This hearty dish is perfect for serving your family on a busy night. Once the vegetables are chopped, much of the preparation time is unattended. For presentation, serve on beds of wilted spinach seasoned with fresh lemon juice, salt, and pepper.

1/3 cup brown lentils

½ cup dry red wine

½ cup water

1 large carrot, finely chopped

1 rib celery, finely chopped

½ cup finely chopped onion

¼ green bell pepper, finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 bay leaf

6 medium (1 ½-inch diameter) zucchini

¼ cup tomato paste

¼ cup finely chopped walnuts

2 tablespoons minced fresh flat-leaf parsley

2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme or ½ teaspoon dried thyme

1 teaspoon snipped fresh dill or ¼ teaspoon dried dill

1 teaspoon minced fresh tarragon or ¼ teaspoon dried tarragon

¼ teaspoon dried thyme

¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper plus extra for zucchini and topping Salt to taste

¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese