Thursday, September 9, 2010

Seasons of Change

Rain seems to have settled into Southern Alberta these past few weeks. Sunscreen, shorts and BBQ tools have all been put away in place of sweaters, socks, and stock-pots. It feels like a hearty-food day. I receive semi-regular emails from They have crafts and Disney destination coupons (that's a dream for another time!) and recipes. Most of the time I discard the emails with barely a glance, but a big bold "LASAGNA SOUP" link caught my eye. A trip to the website and 25 soup recipes later, I decided to give it a try:
2 tsp olive oil
1 1/2 lbs Italian Sausage
2 onions, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 (28oz) can diced tomatoes
6 c. chicken broth
2 bay leaves
8 oz rotini pasta
2 1/2 tbsp basil
salt & pepper to taste
8 oz. ricotta cheese
1/2 c. Parmesan cheese
1/4 tsp salt
pinch of pepper
sprinkle with mozzarella cheese

Heat olive oil in a large pot. Ad sausage, break up with a wooden spoon and cook until sausage is no longer pink. About 5-7 minutes. Drain fat and add onion. Cook until soft (5 minutes). Add garlic, oregano, and red pepper flakes. Sauté for one minute.
Add tomato paste and sauté until paste turns rusty brown. Add diced tomatoes, chicken broth and bay leaves and bring soup to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes.
Add pasta. Increase heat to med-high and boil until pasta is tender. Discard bay leaves, stir in basil, salt and pepper.
In a small bowl, combine ricotta, Parmesan, salt and pepper. To serve, place 1 tbsp of ricotta mixture in bowl. Sprinkle with mozzarella and ladle soup on top.

A few of my own tricks:
I added a bit more noodles than required as I was feeding a few extra people that night. It made this into more of a stoup than a soup, but still tasted delicious.
I put the diced tomatoes in the food processor before adding to the soup to make them a bit less chunky in consistency, as I knew I would hear: "I don't like tomatoes" from a few of the critics.
Also, this meal would be equally good and a little less spicy with ground beef rather than Italian Sausage.

Critics Review:
Although the kids were barely above ho-hum about this meal, I did receive a "this is like your smokie-pasta, only better!" from the sous-chef. I'll take that. Plus, the sous-chef's mom stopped by for dinner too and was generous with compliments as well. This one gets a page in the recipe book. Plus, it was still great for left-overs the next day.

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