Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Lasagna Soup

Lasagna in any form gets a thumbs up in my book! Soup form is ingenious! It was so much faster and it was even better the next day! Get some crusty bread and soak it up! I got the recipe from Mel's Kitchen Cafe. The girl rocks!

1 1/2 pounds Italian sausage
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, finely minced or pressed through a garlic press
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1 (28-ounce) can fire roasted diced tomatoes, undrained
2 bay leaves
6 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil or 2 tablespoons dried basil
Salt and pepper to taste

1/2 pound fusilli noodles, cooked and drained

Cheese topping:
1 cup ricotta cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1 Tablespoon chopped fresh basil or 1 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, for sprinkling

In a large 4-quart pot, add the Italian sausage and cook over medium heat, breaking the pieces up with a wooden spoon or spatula while it cooks. I prefer the sausage in fairly small pieces. After about 3-4 minutes, add the onion. Cook the sausage and onion together, stirring occasionally, until the sausage is cooked through and the onions are soft,a bout 5-7 minutes. Drain any excess grease, if desired. Stir in the garlic, oregano, red pepper flakes and tomato paste. Cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the diced tomatoes with their juices, bay leaves and chicken broth. Add the basil, if using dried (if using fresh basil, add it in the next step).

Bring the soup to a boil then reduce the heat and simmer for 20-30 minutes. Season the soup with salt and pepper to taste and the fresh basil, if using.

For the cheese mixture, in a small bowl, combine the ricotta cheese, Parmesan cheese, salt, pepper and basil. Set aside.

To serve the soup, add a scoop of cooked pasta noodles to a bowl. Top with a ladle or two of soup and dollop with a generous spoonful of the cheese mixture. Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese. Serve immediately.

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