Place the lentils in a large pot, add the bay leaves, and water to cover and rise 2 inches above the solids. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook about 40 minutes.
In a heavy-bottomed skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook over medium heat for 5 minutes, until it softens and begins to color. Add the bay leaf, thyme, rosemary, garlic, salt, and tomatoes. Stir the tomatoes and break them up with a wooden spoon and cook until the tomatoes are cooked and dark rust in color. Add 2 dried chiles and stir.
Add the lentils to the tomato mixture and add lentil water, to cover the ingredients by 1 inch. Add the noodles to the pot, and cook, covered, until the pasta is tender. Season with salt and pepper, remove the herb sprigs and garlic cloves and serve, divided evenly among 6 warmed pasta bowls.
On a wooden board, place the flour in a mound. Form a well in the center and add the egg whites and salt. Add the water, a little at a time, while mixing in the flour and water with a fork. Using both hands, knead the dough into a ball, adding more flour as necessary, to obtain a smooth, pliable dough. Set the dough under an inverted bowl and let it rest 15 minutes
Roll the pasta out to the thinnest setting on a pasta-rolling machine and cut it into 3/4-inch wide noodles.
Recipe copyright Mario Batali, 2002. All Rights Reserved.