Friday, October 23, 2015

Lasagna Soup

Ah, a recipe other than chicken. It warms my heart.

In all seriousness, it does feel like the hubby and I have been on a chicken rampage. We already don't eat a lot of red meat, we rarely eat pork, and all the other animals are not nearly as affordable and easy to buy at the store as chicken. Plus, our local grocery store has a pretty decent selection of organic chicken. The free-range kind with no hormones or antibiotics type of chicken. It's 100% more expensive, which might be why we've cut down on all others meats, but it's better for everyone. 

Except maybe our wallet.

If I lived in a perfect world, I'd have a local farmer to supply me. One I could buy all organic fruits and veggies from, and one that treated their animals properly. I'm not a big fan of corporate farming, as it does seem to be creating a very unhealthy world. I guess since I don't have my own personal farmer, it's a good thing the local grocery store seems committed to stocking organic fruit, veggies, breads, cheeses, and meats. Actually, it's a very good thing, as most people around here are not exactly committed to health. I'm lucky I have any kind of selection at all.

Ok, I didn't set out today to write a controversial post or to make anyone feel bad about their food choices. I'm not perfect (in any way shape or form) and I too don't always pick the healthiest food. I mean, I eat tortilla chips and beer almost every day.  

So, we'll talk soup instead! Lasagna Soup, to be exact.

If you like lasagna, you'll loooooove this soup. It's so cliche, every recipe for this soup states this fact, but it's true- it tastes just like lasagna! It was love at first bite. I pumped up the veggies in the recipe, to make it a one-pot meal, but you'll still get all the warm fuzzies from the mixture of ground beef and hot Italian sausage, the tender noodles, and all that gooey, wonderful cheese. 

I made a big ol' batch of this soup, and froze a bunch. I can't wait till we are buried under 16 inches of snow again, because this soup would be perfect after a long day of being out in the snow. It's true comfort food, and I think even the heartiest appetites would agree. Man Soup is what this should be called :-)

I was pleasantly surprised to find some somewhat local sausage at my small town grocery store. I only ended up using 1 link, so I was able to freeze 2. They'll likely be used to add some awesome flavor to another soup. Or casserole. Or pasta sauce. 

Hello, meat mixture!

Lasagna soup has been on my go-to list for at least a year. It's been there forever. What finally brought it to the fore front was these noodles. When I saw the package, I immediately thought it was the mini-lasagna noodles that people use for this soup. I got uber-excited, and threw a pack in my cart. I raved to the hubby that I finally found the noodles, and that the soup could now be a reality. 

Flash to the cooking day. I was running around the kitchen, gathering all my ingredients, humming along to the "Friends" theme song (yes, it was 4 pm and "Friends" was on). I pulled out my package of noodles, opened them, and gasped. This is what I found-

Ugh!! Not the right noodles at all. I stood there, flabbergasted. Then I dropped everything I was doing, and headed back to the store. I don't generally make substitutions for something I'm blogging about. So, off to find those noodles I went. 

No. such. luck.

I was not able to find mafalda (that's what they call those noodles) anywhere. Nada. So, standing there in the middle of the pasta aisle, I had to make a decision. My first inclination was to call the whole thing off. Just cause I was mad, you know. 

And then I got madder. Why should people that live in big areas be the only ones to enjoy Lasagna Soup? Should't us country folk be entitled as well? Yes, I decided, we should be. So I picked out another pasta.

I went with campanelle. I think the little curly edges are reminiscent of lasagna noodles. They tasted great in the soup, and I didn't notice the texture being unfavorable. If you too can't find those dastardly mafalda noodles, these make a great compromise. 

My personal twist on the soup? Some chopped mushrooms and kale. Delicious additions, if you ask me. 

And this. This is the cheesy mixture. It's super-simple, just ricotta, parmesan, and a little salt and pepper. But oh man, does it take the soup to whole nother' level. When you dip your spoon into that bowl and it delves into creamy cheese mixture, you will do the happy dance. Happy, happy, happy!

I served the soup with bread here at the homestead. I wouldn't fault you if you wanted to add a green salad on the side, because that too would make a good side. 

Stick this recipe away in your back pocket folks, cuz' you are gonna wanna whip it out this winter. I guarantee it. 

Have a great weekend friends!

Ingredients (serves 8):

1 tsp olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 hot Italian sausage link (about 3 ounces), casing removed
1/3 lb ground beef
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp dried oregano
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 (28 oz) can fire-roasted diced tomatoes, undrained
2 bay leaves
2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
8 ounces campanelle pasta
1 cup mushrooms, chopped
1 cup kale, thinly sliced
1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped

Cheese Mixture-
8 oz ricotta
1/2 cup grated parmesan
1/4 tsp salt
pinch of black pepper

shredded mozzarella cheese (optional)


1. Heat olive oil in a large pot. When hot, add onions. Sauté for 5 minutes, or until onions begin to soften. Add Italian sausage and ground beef to pan. Sauté for another 5 minutes, or until meat is browned. Add garlic, sauté for 30 seconds. 
2. Add oregano and tomato paste to pot. Stir until tomato paste is incorporated. Add tomatoes, bay leaves, chicken broth, and salt and pepper to pan. Bring to a boil, then lower temperature to a simmer. Simmer for 30 minutes. 
3. Prepare the cheese mixture- in a small bowl, combine ricotta, parmesan, salt, and pepper. Stir to combine. Set aside. 
4. Add pasta, mushrooms, and kale to the pot. Simmer for another 8 minutes, or until pasta is tender. Remove from heat, and stir in basil.
5. To serve, place 1/3 cup of cheese mixture in the bottom of soup bowls. Ladle the soup over the cheese mixture. Top each bowl with a little mozzarella cheese, if using. Serve immediately.

• Chef's Note- if you are making this soup to freeze, I recommend making the pasta on the side. Add pasta to each individual bowl, as pasta doesn't hold up well in the freezer. 

Recipe adapted from A Farm Girl's Dabbles.

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