After a weird few days where our temperatures were in the 70s, culminating in a few small tornadoes (our first here in Alabama since the April 27 outbreak), we're back to actual fall weather. Which, for us, means it's in the 50s and DRY outside.
I realize I've made both pasta AND soup recently, and past posts have definitely shown my love for soups, but after taking a quick inventory of the fridge and pantry, I realized that I had everything for this recipe except for ricotta and bread. After a quick run to Publix, I knew EXACTLY what I would be making for dinner.
This recipe calls for mafalda pasta or fusilli; mafalda is a flat ribbon pasta, kind of like a REALLY skinny lasagna noodle. They aren't found in any of our local stores. I decided to substitute radiatori, which, as the name suggests, look like little radiators. The design is supposed to maximize the surface area for optimal heat exchange, flavor absorption and for trapping sauce. I bought them because I thought they looked cool. There are basic online cooking classes available if you don't know your fusilli from your fettuccini and need help distinguishing the various types of pasta.
The BEST part of this soup is the gooey cheese "glob" - it really gives the soup that "lasagna-y" factor. As hearty as this soup is, the only sides you need are some crusty bread and maybe a small salad. I prefer to keep the cheese "glob" in a separate container; adding it only to individual portions of soup when serving.
adapted from A Farm Girl Dabbles
2 tsp olive oil
1 1/2 lbs Italian sausage, removed from casing
3 cups chopped onions
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
2 Tbsp tomato paste
1 28oz can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
2 bay leaves
6 cups chicken stock
8oz fusilli or radiatori pasta
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
Salt & pepper
8oz ricotta cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 cups shredded Mozzarella cheese
Heat olive oil in a heavy pot over medium heat. Add the sausage, breaking it up into small pieces; brown for 5 minutes. Add the onions and cook for 5 minutes or until softened. Add the garlic, oregano & red pepper flakes and cook for 1 minute.
Add the tomato paste and stir well; cook 3-4 minutes or until the paste darkens to a rusty brown color. Add the diced tomatoes, bay leaves and chicken stock; stir to combine. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 30 minutes.
Add the pasta and cook until al dente. Stir in the basil and season to taste with salt and pepper.
Combine the ricotta and Parmesan along with 1/4 tsp salt and a pinch of pepper. Place a generous scoop of the cheese mixture into the soup bowl and top with hot soup. Garnish with mozzarella.