Lasagna Soup

The calendar says it fall, but the weather outside really hasn’t felt like it yet. We’re still in the 60′s every day and the temperatures aren’t dropping all that much at night so mornings haven’t been very brisk. No complaints here! Now if only we could figure out a way to stop the days from getting shorter. It’s dark by about 6 pm most nights lately, and I know it’s just a few more weeks until we roll the clocks back an hour and the sun is gone before it’s even 5 o’clock. I’m dreading it like you wouldn’t believe.

Lasagna Soup

I can handle all the cold weather and snow New England throws at me (I actually love snow!), but the lack of sun and daylight hours is what really kills me about winter. Shane’s been talking about getting me one of those light boxes for years (he’s convinced I have seasonal affective disorder), but I’m pretty skeptical that a lamp can serve as any kind of meaningful replacement for actual sunshine. Anyone have one? Does it really make a difference?

Lasagna Soup

Because it’s been so warm, I really haven’t been craving fall comfort foods as much as usual, but soup is an exception. I love that I can make a batch early in the week and enjoy leftovers for days to come. Lunch dilemma solved! This lightened-up broccoli-cheddar soup is in heavy rotation right now as is this creamless creamy tomato soup, and recently I added another favorite to the lineup with this lasagna soup.

Lasagna soup is exactly what it sounds like – everything you love about lasagna in a comforting bowl of soup. It’s made with Italian sausage, tomatoes, pasta, and of course lots of cheese, it’s only the best part of lasagna, right? :) Sometimes you just don’t have the time or energy to make traditional lasagna, and that’s where this soup comes in. It’s quick and easy to throw together, 100% doable even on a busy weeknight. Served with a salad on the side and maybe a slice of garlic bread, it’s a hearty fall dinner the whole family will love!

Lasagna Soup
adapted from 300 Sensational Soups by Carla Snyder via Elly Says Opa

{Note: if you use hot Italian sausage along with the red pepper flakes and fire-roasted tomatoes, this soup definitely packs a little heat. Just wanted to warn you in case you’re serving to anyone who isn’t a spicy foods fan.}

Soup
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 1/2 lbs Italian sausage, casings removed
2 medium onions, diced
5 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 (14 oz) cans fire-roasted diced tomatoes
2 bay leaves
4 cups chicken broth
2 cups beef broth
8 oz dry pasta (I used cavatappi)
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil, plus extra for garnish

Cheese Mixture
8 oz ricotta (part-skim is fine)
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese (part-skim is fine)

Set a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the oil, and when it shimmers, add the sausage. Brown the meat, breaking it up with a wooden spoon as it cooks. Stir in the onions and cook until softened. Mix in the garlic, oregano, red pepper flakes, and tomato paste, and cook for just a minute or two, until the garlic is fragrant. Add the tomatoes, bay leaves, chicken broth, and beef broth, stirring to combine. Bring the soup to a boil then reduce the heat and simmer for about 20 minutes (uncovered). Stir in the pasta and cook until al dente, stirring occasionally.

While the pasta cooks, stir together the ricotta, Parmesan, and mozzarella to make the cheese mixture. When the soup is ready, season to taste with salt and pepper then remove the pot from the heat and add the basil, stirring to incorporate.

To serve: Scoop a dollop of the cheese mixture into the bottom of each bowl, then top with the soup. Place another dollop of cheese on top, if desired. Garnish with additional basil.

Leftovers: The pasta will continue to absorb broth as it sits so leftovers will be quite thick. Feel free to add additional broth to thin the mixture back to soup consistency.