Lasagna Soup

I know it is summer, and most people don’t like to eat soup during the summer. It is hot, it makes you hot, but let me tell you- lasagna soup is enough to make you change your mind.

I made this the other day for a luncheon we had at school to celebrate another teacher. It was decided that the cuisine was going to be italian. Quickly all of the sides, desserts, and drinks were volunteered for and all that was left was the entrees. I immediately panicked. How was I going to make something italian without it getting cold/not having an oven to warm it up in?

I looked up crock pot pasta dishes and there were a few promising crock pot lasagna recipes, but I have the tendency of trying something new and it failing when I have to bring it somewhere. So as I was looking, I remembered lasagna soup. This is cheesy and flavorful and delicious. The first time I made it, I ate 3 bowls before Nat even got home from football. I am not ashamed. I modified the recipe that I usually use to make it friendly for everyone. I also adjusted it to a crock pot recipe. Anyway, it is delicious and I hope you enjoy it. It is even better on a cold winter night when you need to be warmed from the inside out.

Lasagna Soup

2 tsp. olive oil

1lb Italian sausage

1 chopped onion

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 (These tomatoes can add some heat to the recipe, so if you don’t like heat I would just get plain diced tomatoes. That is what I used for the lunch. It is still delicious!)

2 bay leaves

6 cups chicken stock

8 oz pasta (I used bow tie pasta. I definitely would use a sturdier pasta. Macaroni is not going to do well)

1/2 basil leaves

salt and pepper

The best part of this soup is the cheesy deliciousness that you put in the bottom of the bowl and it gets all melty and delicious when you pour the soup over it. Seriously, mouth watering good.

Cheesy Good

8 oz ricotta

1/2 cup parmesan cheese

1/4 tsp salt

ground pepper

2 cups shredded mozz cheese (for the top of the bowl)

Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add sausage, 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 cheesy yum. In a small bowl, combine the ricotta, Parmesan, salt, and pepper.

To serve, place a dollop of the cheesy yum in each soup bowl, sprinkle some of the mozzarella on top and ladle the hot soup over the cheese.

To adjust the recipe for a crock pot: I cooked the sausage/garlic/onions before hand and stirred in the tomato paste. I then dumped that combo + all the other ingredients into the crock pot. I kept it on the low setting until it was time to eat 3-4 hours. I cooked the pasta separately and just had it in a bowl to the side. That let the other lunch guests put as much or as little pasta in their bowl as they would prefer.

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