For the Soup:
2 tsp. olive oil
1-1/2 lbs. ground beef
3 c. chopped onions
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
2 T. tomato paste
1 28-oz. can fire roasted diced tomatoes
2 bay leaves
6 c. chicken stock
8 oz. fusilli pasta
1/2 c. finely chopped fresh basil leaves
salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
For the Cheese Mixture:
8 oz. ricotta
1/2 c. grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 tsp. salt
pinch of freshly ground pepper
chopped fresh basil leaves
Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add ground beef and brown until just done, about 8 minutes. Add onions and cook until softened, about 6 minutes. Add garlic, oregano, and red pepper flakes and 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 color.
Add diced tomatoes, bay leaves, and chicken stock. Stir to combine. Bring to a rolling boil and then reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Add uncooked pasta and cook until al dente. Right before serving, stir in the basil and season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
While the pasta is cooking, prepare the cheese mixture. In a small bowl, combine the ricotta, parmesan, salt, and pepper.
To serve, place a dollop of the cheese mixture in each soup bowl, then ladle the hot soup over the cheese mixture and garnish with mozzarella and fresh basil.