My daughter loves to cook and, of course she learned a lot from watching and helping me as she grew up. Now we often exchange recipes and most recently she sent me this one that she got from a friend of hers. What a delicious idea!
For the Soup:
2 teaspoons olive oil
1-1/2 lbs. Italian sausage (I use sweet Italian)
3 cups chopped onions (I use purple for a sweeter taste)
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons Tomato paste
1 - 28 oz. can fire roasted diced tomatoes (with juice)
2 bay leaves
6 cups chicken stock (low sodium)
8 oz. mafalda or fusilli pasta
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh basil leaves
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
For cheesy yum:
8 oz. ricotta cheese
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/4 teaspoon salt
Pinch of freshly ground pepper
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add sausage (out of skin), breaking up into bite sized pieces, and brown for approximately 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.
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 overcook or let soup simmer for a long period of time at this point, as the pasta will get mushy. Stir in 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.
Adapted from “300 Sensational Soups” by Carla Snyder and Meredith Deeds, as seen in the Feb-Apr 2011 edition of At Home with Kawalski’s magazine.