Cheese Crusted Lasagna Soup

After a whole week of nonstop Halloween treat recipes, I'm pleased to announce that, yes, we eat real food too!  This soup from the ever-amazing SnoWhite at Finding Joy in My Kitchen is destined to be a new family favorite at our house.   It was hearty, flavorful, and full of sausage and noodles, which are always surefire tickets to culinary success at our house.  If you have picky young kids (or even adults), I highly recommend chopping the veggies pretty small (including the mushrooms and spinach).  It not only makes the soup more evenly textured, but my kids didn't even bat an eyelash at the presence of the normally offensive mushrooms, since they were hidden surreptitiously among the rest of the yummy stuff.  :)

Recipe Source:  Finding Joy in My Kitchen
Click here for printable recipe. 

The ingredients:

1 lb. Italian sausage (we like the "hot" version)
2 Tbs. olive oil
2 onions, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp. oregano
8-ounces mushrooms, chopped
1 medium bell pepper, diced
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
2 Tbs. tomato paste
2 cans (14-ounces each) diced tomatoes, undrained
6 cups chicken broth (or 6 cups water + 6 bouillon cubes)
1 bay leaf
8-ounces whole wheat pasta shells
1 cup fresh spinach, chopped (with it chopped finely, I definitely think I could have added another cup or two of spinach)

CHEESE BASE (per bowl):

1 Tbs. ricotta cheese (low-fat is great)
1 Tbs. Parmesan cheese, shredded
2 Tbs. mozzarella cheese, shredded
salt and pepper, to taste


Remove casings from sausage and cook on medium-high heat until browned and cooked through.  Drain and set aside. 

In a large stockpot, heat olive oil and add onion, garlic, oregano, mushrooms, bell pepper, and red pepper flakes and saute about 5 minutes.  Add in sausage and tomato paste and saute an additional 5 minutes.
 Add in the diced tomatoes, broth and bay leaf.  Simmer the soup for 30 minutes to allow the flavors to blend.  Add in the pasta and spinach and cook until tender; about 7-9 minutes.  Remove the bay leaf.  Add in basil and season with salt and pepper.

To Serve with Cheese Base:

Place 1 tablespoon ricotta cheese in the bottom of each soup bowl.   Top with Parmesan cheese, mozzarella cheese, salt and pepper, as desired.  Serve soup over the cheeses in the bowl.

Makes 10 servings. 


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