Lasagna Soup

serves 6-8

1 Tablespoon olive oil

1 1/2 pounds mild or hot Italian sausage, casings removed

2 medium onions, finely chopped

4 cloves garlic, finely minced

2 teaspoons dried oregano

2 Tablespoons tomato paste

1 (28-ounce) can petite diced tomatoes with juice

6 cups chicken stock

2 bay leaves

8 ounces malfaldine pasta, broken into smaller pieces

1/2 cup finely chopped fresh basil

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

8 ounces ricotta cheese, homemade or store bought

1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 cups (about 8 ounces) grated mozzarella cheese

Crushed red pepper flakes to taste (optional)

In a large pot, heat the oil over medium heat.  Add the sausage and sauté, breaking it up with the back of a wooden spoon until no longer pink, about 5 minutes.  Using a slotted spoon, remove sausage and transfer to a paper towel lined plate to drain; reserve one tablespoon of fat in the pan and maintain heat.  Add the onion and sauté until softened, about 5-7 minutes.  Add the garlic and oregano; sauté for 1 minute.  Add the tomato paste and sauté until it turns a rusty brown, about 5 minutes.

Return the sausage to the pot.  Add the tomatoes with juice, stock, bay leaves; bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for 30 minutes.  Add the pasta, increase the heat to medium-high and boil until tender to the bite, about 8 minutes. Discard bay leaves.  Stir in basil and season with salt, pepper and crushed red pepper flakes to taste.

In a small bowl combine ricotta, Parmigiano Reggiano, salt and pepper.

Divide the ricotta mixture evenly among bowls.  Sprinkle with half of the mozzarella.  Ladle the soup into the bowls and sprinkle the remaining mozzarella on top.  Enjoy!

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