300 Sensational Soups
by Carla Snyder & Meredith Deeds
Sometimes genius comes in the form of a soup, and this is one of those times. It was inspired by Meredith's son Kyle, who, on a trip to the grocery store with Mom, thought up the clever idea of putting all the elements of one of his favorite dishes into a soup bowl. A creamy mixture of ricotta, Parmesan and mozzarella cheeses melts underneath a flavorful sausage, tomato and pasta soup. The hot soup melts the cheese, giving the diner a delightful lasagna- like experience in every spoonful.
• 2 tsp olive oil
• 1 1/2 Ibs Italian sausage (bulk or with casings removed)
• 2 onions, finely chopped
• 4 cloves garlic, minced
• 2 tsp dried oregano
• 1/2 tsp hot pepper flakes
• 2 tbsp tomato paste
• 1 can (28 oz) diced tomatoes, with juice
• 6 cups chicken stock
• 2 bay leaves
• 8 oz fusilli pasta
• 1/2 cup finely chopped fresh basil
• Salt and freshly ground black pepper
• 8 oz ricotta cheese
• 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
• 1/4 tsp salt
• Pinch freshly ground black pepper
• 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1. In a large pot, heat oil over medium heat. Add sausage and saute, breaking up with the back of a wooden spoon, until no longer pink, about 5 minutes. Drain any excess fat. Add onions and saute until softened, about 6 minutes. Add garlic, oregano and hot pepper flakes; saute for 1 minute. Add tomato paste and saute until paste turns a rusty brown, about 5 minutes.
2. Add tomatoes with juice, stock and bay leaves; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about 30 minutes to blend the flavors. Add pasta, increase heat to medium-high and boil until tender to the bite, about 8 minutes. Discard bay leaves. Stir in basil and season with salt and black pepper to taste.
3. In a small bowl, combine ricotta, Parmesan, salt and black pepper.
4. Divide ricotta cheese mixture evenly among heated bowls. Sprinkle with mozzarella and top with soup.
San Marzano tomatoes, imported from Italy, are thought by many to be the best canned tomatoes in the world. Look for the words "San Marzano" on the label to be sure you're getting the best.