(Picture is from A Farm Girl Dabbles)
I know it is kind of strange to post recipes on this very art centric blog. There are plenty of wonderful sites that fill that niche without needing any help from me. But, food is my love language. Making delicious meals for the people I love is what I do. I never get tired of it. So, here is yet another recipe from my files
Over Christmas, we went to our annual family potluck at my grandfather’s cabin in KS. My aunt, who I am beginning to think of as the “queen of comfort soup” made a version of this yumminess. I knew immediately that it would become a new family staple. Besides the fact that it is filled with cheesy melty goodness, and tastes likes the best of lasagnes, one of my favorite things about how this is served is that the cheeses, and mozzarella, and pasta all go in separate bowls so you can individually craft your dish. Between three picky children and lots of friends with food sensitivities, I am a fan of any recipe that is highly customizable. Extra cheese in mine? Yes please.
(this recipe is adapted just slightly from A Farm Girl Dabbles)
Yield: 8 servings
FOR THE SOUP:
- 2 tsp. olive oil
- 1-1/2 lbs. Italian sausage (sweet or spicy, and ground beef works here too)
- 1 package McCormicks spaghetti seasoning (not in the original recipe, so you could leave this out, but I think it adds a good amount of flavor quickly and easily. Cheating I know, but try it)
- 3 c. chopped onions (I just use one large onion)
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tsp. dried oregano
- 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes (leave out if you have kids who don’t like spicy)
- 2 T. tomato paste
- 1 28-oz. can fire roasted diced tomatoes (regular would be fine too)
- 2 bay leaves
- 6 c. chicken stock
- 8 oz. fusilli pasta (or whatever you have on hand)
- 1/2 c. finely chopped fresh basil leaves
- salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
FOR THE CHEESY YUM:
- 8 oz. ricotta
- 1/2 c. grated Parmesan cheese
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- pinch of freshly ground pepper
- 2 c. shredded mozzarella cheese
Cook pasta to al dente following package directions in a large pot of heavily salted water. Rinse with cold water and set aside.
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 seasoning packet 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. Right before serving, stir in the basil and season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
While the sauce is simmering, prepare the cheesy yum. In a small bowl, combine the ricotta, Parmesan, salt, and pepper.
To serve, spoon noodles into bowl, 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 top.