Small Town Christmas

Small Town Christmas

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The Ultimate Comfort Food

Serve the Lasagna Soup with toasted, cheesy French bread for a hearty meal.
Soup is the ultimate comfort food. So as Randy recovers from his surgery, I will likely make this tasty soup again. It may not be layered like traditional lasagna, but it's definitely layered with the flavors of that favorite Italian meal.

Jill found it on Pinterest and made it first. Then she recommended it to me. Ironically, it's from one of the blogs I read regularly, but Brenda at A Farmgirl's Dabbles posted it more than a year ago, before I'd discovered her.

So it was like destiny, I guess. You can eat it without the cheesy yum component or doctor it up with all the cheesy goodness. It's recommended from both my kitchen and Jill's.
You can eat it without the "cheesy yum" but it's tastier with it!
Lasagna Soup
Adapted from A Farmgirl's Dabbles
1 1/2 pounds Italian sausage (or substitute hamburger for all or part)
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 tsp. dried oregano
2 tsp. minced garlic
1/2 tsp. crushed pepper flakes
1 tsp. dried basil
2 tbsp. tomato paste
1 28-oz. can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
6 cups chicken stock
8 oz. mafalda or fusilli pasta
Salt & pepper to taste

Cheesy Yum
8 oz. ricotta
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 tsp. salt
Pinch of freshly-ground pepper

Additional cheesy yum:
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

Brown Italian sausage (or hamburger) with onion and garlic, breaking into bite-sized pieces. Cook until meat is browned and onions are softened. Drain fat from meat. Add oregano, dried basil and 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 and chicken stock. Stir to combine. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Add uncooked pasta and cook until al dente. Don't over cook or let soup simmer too long or the pasta will get mushy and absorb too much of the soup broth. Right before serving, season with salt and pepper to taste.

For cheesy yum:  In a small bowl, combine ricotta, Parmesan, salt and pepper. To serve, place a dollop of the cheesy yum in each soup bowl, sprinkle some mozzarella on top and ladle the hot soup over the cheese.

The recipe suggested cooking the pasta separately if you anticipate having leftovers because pasta does have a tendency to absorb additional moisture. However, I cooked the pasta in the soup broth. We like thick soup, but when we reheated it, we just added a little more water. Makes 8 servings.
Mafalda pasta - I'd never used it before, and I was so happy that my hometown grocery store had it! They look like miniature lasagna noodles.

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