Recently, I have been craving soups like no other. The only problem is that the weather here in NJ is fluctuating yet again, and without fail I always plan soup for dinner when the temperature reaches 60 degrees. I never really loved soup, so I think this is a message from the soup gods getting back at me. Of course, when I planned this recipe, the weather did not cooperate, but instead of scrap plans, I forged ahead. And I am so glad I did. This soup was awesome.
You take everything that you love about lasagna and put it in one convenient bowl. You have your noodles, tomatoes, and cheese–oh the cheesy goodness on top. We thoroughly enjoyed this and I am now hoping for chillier nights ahead when I can prepare it again. It was warm and comforting–even if we were sweating while eating it. I love that it came together quickly after a day at work and we had plenty of leftovers for the two of us. This is the perfect winter meal after you tire yourself out at work or from all that holiday shopping!
For the soup:
2 tsp. olive oil
1-1/2 lbs. Italian sausage
3 c. chopped onions
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
2 T. tomato paste
1 28-oz. can fire roasted diced tomatoes
2 bay leaves
6 cups chicken stock
8 oz. mafalda or fusilli pasta
1/2 cups finely chopped fresh basil leaves
salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
For the cheese topping:
8 oz. ricotta
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 tsp. salt
pinch of freshly ground pepper
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
What you’ll do:
Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add sausage, breaking it up with a wooden spoon, and brown for about 5 minutes. Add onions to the meat and cook until softened, about 6 minutes. Add garlic, oregano, and red pepper flakes, cook for about 30 seconds or until fragrant. Add tomato paste and stir well to incorporate. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes, or until the tomato paste turns rusty in color.
Add diced tomatoes, bay leaves, and chicken stock. Stir to combine. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat and simmer for 20- 30 minutes. Remove the bay leaves from the pot. Add uncooked pasta and cook until al dente, mine took about 11 minutes. Immediately before serving, stir in the basil and season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
While the pasta is cooking, prepare the cheesy yum. In a small bowl, combine the ricotta, Parmesan, salt, and pepper. Only prepare the full amount if serving to a large group. I prepared about 1/4 of it for the two of us.
To serve, ladle the hot soup into bowls. Place a dollop of the cheese mixture on top. Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese and slurp away!
Source: a farmgirl’s dabbles