my lasagna is always my favorite.
Then I kept seeing lasagna soup in my pinterest newsfeed. What's not to love? We've had a very busy week this week, Nico has been on a stay-cation and we have been running around doing a lot of errands, holiday activities, and just having family fun. For some reason, I thought this was a crock pot soup, so I put it on my menu for the week. It's not a crock pot soup, but it was quick enough to come together.
I made only very small changes from the original. I didn't cook my pasta in the soup. I knew I would have leftovers and I wanted to be able to freeze it for next week, so I cooked the pasta separately so it would not absorb all the soup, leaving me with mushy pasta. Also, instead of adding the fresh basil to the soup itself, I added it to the ricotta cheese mixture. In my opinion, the ricotta mixtures is what made this soup. When I mixed it all together, the soup broth took on a creamy quality.
This soup was a big hit. My kids not only loved the cool mini lasagna pasta shapes, but ate up all their soup and had seconds. (Seconds rarely ever happen in this house!) I am eager to make this again. I see many ways to adapt this. In place of sausage, I'd like to use ground beef one time. Or add some chopped fresh spinach. Or try to make a vegetarian version.
mildly adapated from A Farm Girl Dabbles
For the soup:
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 large onions, chopped
1.5 pounds Italian sausage (I used hot Italian sausage, not in the casing)
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flake (optional. I debated not using it since I used hot Italian sausage, but I ended up using it and did think the soup had some kick. The kids didn't seem to mind.)
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 28 ounce can of diced tomatoes
2 bay leaves
6 cups chicken stock
8 ounces pasta of choice (a curly macaroni works best)
salt and pepper to taste
For the ricotta cheese mixture:
8 ounces ricotta cheese
1/2 cup fresh grated parmesan cheese
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh basil
salt and pepper
To top the soup:
2 cups shredded mozzarella
Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onions and sautee until soft. Add the sausage, breaking it up into small pieces, and cook until browned. Add garlic and red pepper flakes. Cook for 1 minute. Add tomato paste and stir well to combine. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes until the tomato paste turns a rust color.
Add diced tomatoes, bay leaves and chicken stock. Stir to combine. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and let soup simmer for 30 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
In another pot, cook the pasta to al dente, strain and set aside.
In a small bowl. combine the ricotta, parmesan, basil, salt, and pepper.
To serve the soup, place 1/4 cup of cooked pasta in the bottom of each bowl. Top with the ricotta mixture. Ladle the soup over the the pasta and cheese in the bowls and sprinkle with mozzarella cheese over the top.