Saturday, April 9, 2016

Lasagna soup

It's April 9, and the windchill outside was 12 degrees this morning. What. Is. Happening?

The only good coming from this shitty weather is that I can share this creamy and cheesy lasagna soup recipe with you so late in the year, and it's still weather appropriate!

The ricotta and mozzarella cheese are hidden below the hot soup,
getting ready to surprise you with melty goodness.
As happens too often, these photos do not capture how awesome this dish is. I ate this soup every night for a whole week and didn't get tired of eating it once. Sure, I love myself some lasagna, but apparently it is wayyyyy better in soup form. And much easier to make!

Cheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeese.

Part of the reason I loved this soup so much was how cheesy and creamy it was. But if you have someone who isn't as much as a cheese-freak as I am, this recipe is actually perfect, because the cheese portion is prepared and served separately from the soup. So while I used the whole cheese shebang in my bowl (ricotta, pecorino, and mozarella), the boy opted for just the ricotta and pecorino. Win-win!

I liked serving the cheese at the bottom of the bowl, so it melts with the heat of the soup and is a fun little surprise to dig into. And as you eat more and more the soup becomes creamier and creamier...

What kind of food blogger would I be if I didn't share what the dish
actually looks like after a few (delicious) minutes?

Buen Provecho,
Jacqueline

Cheesy Lasagna Soup, adapted from A Farmgirl's Dabbles
Note: This soup makes 6-8 servings. If you're serving it all at once, you can cook the pasta directly in the soup (in step 5). Otherwise, if you're going to be eating any leftovers, cook the pasta separately from the soup and toss with a bit of oil after cooking to prevent sticking.

Ingredients

For the soup
2 tsp. olive oil
1 to 1.5 pounds Italian sausage (I used mild)
3 cups chopped onions (yes, this sounds like a lot, but it's perfect)
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
2 TBSP tomato paste
1 28-oz. can fire roasted diced tomatoes (I like Muir Glen)
2 bay leaves
6 cups chicken stock
8 to 10 oz. pasta of your choice (De Cecco brand is the absolute best, I used orchietti this time)
salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/2 c. finely chopped fresh basil leaves

For the ricotta mixture
8 oz. ricotta
1/2 cup grated Parmesan or pecorino romano cheese
1/4 tsp. salt
pinch of freshly ground pepper

extra cheese: 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

Directions
  1. Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add sausage, breaking up into bite sized pieces, and brown for about 5 minutes. 
  2. Add onions and cook until softened, about 6 minutes. 
  3. Add garlic, oregano, and red pepper flakes. Cook for 1 minute. 
  4. Add tomato paste and stir well to incorporate. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes, or until the tomato paste turns a rusty brown color. 
  5. Add diced tomatoes, bay leaves, and chicken stock. Season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes.
  6. While the soup is cooking, prepare the ricotta mixture: in a small bowl, combine the ricotta, Parmesan/pecorino, salt, and pepper. 
  7. Also get your pasta ready while the soup simmers: in a separate stockpot, bring salted water to a boil over high heat for the pasta. With about 10 minutes left for the soup, cook the pasta until al dente. Drain and toss with a little oil to avoid sticking. 
  8. To serve, place a dollop of the ricotta cheese in each soup bowl, sprinkle some of the mozzarella on top, and add pasta. Ladle the hot soup over the cheese. Top with fresh basil.

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