Last week, Leah ran a little contest on her blog and invited readers to submit a soup for her Season of Soup challenge. She sent me one of the recipes she got that she didn’t choose and I was all over it.
I mean…lasagna soup?! CHEESY YUM??!! Why am I just now hearing about this for the first time??
I made sure to get all the ingredients at my next trip to the grocery store and then I made it that same night. The end result was a bowl of incredibly delicious soup.
(Quite a few people sent Leah versions of this recipe from around the Interwebs, so I’m not entirely sure where to give credit, but I know it appeared on A Farm Girl’s Dabbles and Claudia’s Recipes as well as an issue of At Home With Kawalski’s magazine.)
This Is How We Do It
Heat 2 tsp olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add 1 and 1/2 lbs ground Italian sausage, breaking up into small pieces, and brown for about 5 minutes. Add 3 cups chopped onions (I used frozen) and cook until softened, about 6 minutes. Add 4 cloves of garlic (minced), 2 tsp dried oregano, and 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes and cook for 1 minute. Add 2 Tbsp tomato paste and stir well to incorporate. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes, or until the tomato paste turns a rusty brown color.
Add one 28-ounce can of fire-roasted diced tomatoes, 2 bay leaves, and six cups of chicken broth. Stir to combine and bring the soup to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 30 minutes. While the pasta is cooking, prepare the cheesy yum. In a small bowl, combine 8 ounces ricotta, 1/2 cup grated Parmesan, 1/4 tsp of salt, and a pinch of freshly ground pepper. And make sure you have 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese handy, as you’ll also need that for serving. (I found this new artisan whole milk mozzarella cheese from Sargento and it’s so good! Way better texture than your standard shredded cheese in a bag.)
Add 8 ounces of uncooked pasta (I used ditalini, but small shells would work too) and cook until al dente. This should only take about 7-9 minutes and it’s a good idea to remove the soup from heat at that point, as overcooking will make the pasta mushy. Stir in 1/2 cup chopped basil and season the soup to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
To eat, place a dollop of the cheesy yum in each soup bowl, sprinkle some of the mozzarella on top, and ladle the hot soup over the cheese.
You guys…THIS SOUP IS SO GOOD. The pasta and melty, gooey cheese make it total comfort food and it tastes a lot like lasagna (better, actually, if you ask me) but it’s a hell of a lot easier to make. It’s also more fun and interesting than a lot of other easy Italian recipes (I’m looking at you, spaghetti). I served it with French bread and butter and Caesar salads and it was just this totally hearty meal that made me wish I was coming in from cold weather and wearing a sweater because I think that would just send it over the top. I can see it becoming something I make again and again, mainly when I want to impress people with my comfort food skillz. Definitely worth making!