1Heat the butter and oil in a large stockpot set over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook until they soften, stirring occasionally – about 5 minutes.
2Meanwhile, combine tomatoes, cilantro, salt and pepper in a blender or food processor and process until smooth. (Stick blender worked well.)
3Add the remaining spices (ginger, cinnamon, turmeric and cumin) to the onions and cook for one minute. Add the tomato mixture and bring to a boil. Add the lentils and 8 cups of water or watered down chicken broth. Cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer until the lentils are tender – about 30 to 35 minutes.
4Add the chickpeas and raise the heat bringing down the heat to a low boil. If serving the next day, refrigerate here. Soup can be made up to 2 days ahead at this stage.
5Add the pasta and cook until tender – 6 to 8 minutes. Serve.
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