LASAGNA SOUP WITH RICOTTA AND BASIL
This comforting Sunday supper has all of the great flavors of lasagna—including Italian sausage, ricotta cheese and basil—but because it’s a soup, it’s a bit quicker to assemble than your usual lasagna. The soup can be refrigerated for up to 2 days, so it’s great for a warming autumn dinner, and for lunch the next day as well. Rewarm the soup in a saucepan over medium heat, adding more broth as needed to achieve the desired consistency.
2 cups (2 oz./60 g) stemmed fresh spinach
1/2 lb. (250 g) fusilli pasta
1/2 lb. (250 g) sweet Italian sausage
5 Tbs. grated Parmesan cheese
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
2 Tbs. olive oil
1/2 small yellow onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
4 cups (32 fl. oz./1 l) low-sodium chicken broth
1 can (14 1/2 oz./455 g) diced fire-roasted tomatoes
2 Tbs. tomato paste
1 cup (1/2 lb./250 g) whole-milk ricotta
1/2 cup (2 oz./60 g) shredded mozzarella
6 fresh basil leaves, chopped
Preheat an oven to 375°F (190°C).
Bring a large pot of generously salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the spinach and cook just until the leaves wilt, about 1 minute. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the spinach to a colander, drain well and let cool on paper towels. Return the pot of water to a boil over high heat. Add the fusilli and cook according to the package directions. Drain well in a colander, rinse under cold water and drain again. Transfer the pasta to a large bowl. Set aside.
Using the paper towels, wrap up the spinach and squeeze out all the excess water. Chop the spinach and transfer to a bowl. Remove the sausage casings. Add the sausage and 2 Tbs. of the Parmesan to the bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Using your hands, mix together until combined. Form the sausage mixture into meatballs of about 1 tsp. each, arranging them in a single layer on an oiled baking sheet as you work. Repeat until all the meatballs are formed. Bake until cooked through, 12 to 15 minutes. Set aside.
In a heavy saucepan over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add the onion and sauté until translucent, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté until softened, about 1 minute longer. Stir in the chicken broth, tomatoes with their juices, and tomato paste. Raise the heat to medium-high and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer until the broth thickens, about 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add the meatballs and pasta and cook just until warmed through, about 2 minutes. In a small bowl, stir together the ricotta, mozzarella and the remaining 3 Tbs. Parmesan. Stir in the basil and season with pepper.
Ladle into shallow bowls and top with a generous dollop of the ricotta mixture. Serve immediately. Serves 4 to 6.