I hate this time of year. The weather goes back and forth between winter and spring. It’s such a tease to get a taste of warmer weather only to have slushy snow the next day. I’m ready for longer days, farmers markets and sunshine. I look forward to winter every year, something about snow and scarves and cold nights by the fire is romantic, but I’m kind of over it four months later. Sadly, the last days of winter seem to be keeping spring at bay just a little longer. The one thing that’s made this season easier for me is soup. It’s my ultimate cold (rainy, slushy, snowy) weather comfort food, so I’m taking this opportunity to share a new favorite with you before it warms up for good (or, you know, until fall gets here again).
Lasagna is not something I ever thought about in soup form, but now that I’ve tried it I can’t help but wonder why. This soup has all the components of lasagna – pasta, Italian sausage, fire roasted tomatoes and lots of cheese – without any of the work. The soup would be delicious on its own and sort of reminded me of this soup, but the cheese mixture makes this soup truly crave-worthy. It’s hearty, comforting and easy to make, and I imagine we’ll be having it again before the cold weather disappears.
- COOK TIME:
- YIELD: 8 servings
For the soup:
2 teaspoons olive oil
1½ pounds Italian sausage, casings removed
2 medium onions, diced
5 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons dried oregano
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 28-ounce can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
2 bay leaves
1 quart chicken broth
2 cups beef broth
8 ounces fusili or other curly pasta
⅓ cup finely chopped basil
8 ounces ricotta
½ cup grated Parmesan or Romano cheese
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
Freshly ground black pepper
Heat the oil in large Dutch oven or stockpot over medium heat. Add the sausage, using a wooden spoon to break it up, and cook until browned. Add the onions and continue cooking until softened, 6-7 minutes. Add in the garlic, oregano, red pepper flakes and tomato paste and continue cooking for 2-3 minutes.
Stir in the tomatoes, bay leaves, chicken broth and beef broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low. Simmer, uncovered, for 20-30 minutes. Add the pasta and cook until just al dente. While the pasta is cooking, combine the ricotta, Parmesan, mozzarella and pepper in a medium bowl. Set aside.
Taste the soup and add salt and pepper as needed, then remove from heat and stir in the basil. To serve the soup, ladle the soup into serving bowls and top with a (heaping) spoonful of the cheese mixture. Alternately, you can add the cheese mixture to the bowl first and ladle the soup on top.