Baby, it's cold outside! Sorry for calling you baby. When it's cold, about all I want to eat is soup (which, when I say soup, I mean soups, stews, and chilis). They're just so good- warm, filling, diverse. As I type this, it's chilly and rainy. A perfect soup day. I had chicken chili for lunch.
This soup is a unique one, and it's a good addition to the Givens' soup repertoire. What makes it good is its resemblance to lasagna. What makes it unique is the addition of a ricotta- Parmesan mixture to the soup bowl just prior to serving. Yum!
It's easy to make, and makes enough for a small army. We didn't end up freezing any, but instead ate on it all week. I am sure it freezes well, but I'd recommend only boiling the amount of noodles you'll need at any given time, or, if you're lazy like me and don't feel like doing that, reduce the amount of noodles the recipe calls for by 1/3 to 1/2.
adapted from the book, 300 Sensational Soups via A Farm Girl's Dabbles blog
1 1/2 lb ground beef or Italian sausage
2 tsp. olive oil
3 c. chopped onions
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
2 T. tomato paste
1 28-oz. can fire roasted diced tomatoes
2 bay leaves
6 c. chicken stock
8 oz. mafalda or fusilli pasta
1/2 c. finely chopped fresh basil leaves
salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
8 oz. ricotta
1/2 c. grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 tsp. saltpinch of freshly ground pepper
1 cup grated mozzarella cheese (optional)
Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add ground beef, breaking up into bite sized pieces, and brown for about 5 minutes. Add onions and cook until softened, about 6 minutes. Add garlic, oregano, and red pepper flakes. Cook for 1 minute. Add tomato paste and stir well to incorporate. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes, or until the tomato paste turns a rusty brown color.
Add diced tomatoes, bay leaves, and chicken stock. Stir to combine. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Add uncooked pasta and cook until al dente. Do not over cook or let soup simmer for a long period of time at this point, as the pasta will get mushy and absorb all the soup broth. You may even want to consider cooking the noodles separately, and then adding some to individual bowls before ladling the soup over them. This would be an especially smart move if you are anticipating any leftovers. Right before serving, stir in the basil and season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
While the pasta is cooking, prepare the cheese mixture. In a small bowl, combine the ricotta, Parmesan, salt, and pepper.
To serve, place a dollop of the cheese mix in each soup bowl, sprinkle some of the mozzarella on top and ladle the hot soup over the cheese.
- We omitted mozzarella since there was other cheese. I don't think I missed it, but if you're in a real cheesy mood, go for it.
- I reduced the amount of noodles called for by about half, using only slightly more than a cup. It seemed like a good move. I also used radiatori pasta, because they looked fun and were on sale.
- The original recipe calls for Italian sausage. Drew doesn't like sausage, so we used ground beef, which is also our traditional lasagna filling. It worked well.