As a Florida resident I am quite the summer girl, but I do get a little excited at the first sign of cool weather. One of my favorite things about the colder weather is the comfort food! It is still pretty warm in Florida, but on our recent “cold” spell I made lots of soups and casseroles. Our favorite one was this recipe for lasagna soup. You have to give it a try, it will warm your belly on a cold winter night. Enjoy!
Adapted from A Farm Girl’s Dabbles
2 tsp. Kelapo coconut oil
1-1/2 lbs. ground sirloin
1 c. chopped onions
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
2 T. tomato paste
1 28-oz. can petite diced tomatoes
2 bay leaves
6 c. chicken stock
8 oz. mafalda or fusilli pasta
salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
8 oz. ricotta
1/2 c. grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 tsp. salt
pinch of freshly ground pepper
shredded mozzarella cheese
Heat coconut oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add onions and sauté 2 minutes. Add ground sirloin and chop up while cooking. Continue to cook until cooked through. Drain. Return to pan and add garlic, oregano, and red pepper flakes. Cook for 1 minute. Add tomato paste and stir well to incorporate. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes, or until the tomato paste turns a rusty brown color.
Add diced tomatoes, bay leaves, and chicken stock. Stir to combine. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Add uncooked pasta and cook until al dente. Do not overcook or let soup simmer for a long period of time at this point, as the pasta will get mushy and absorb all the soup broth. You may even want to consider cooking the noodles separately, and then adding some to individual bowls before ladling the soup over them. This would be an especially smart move if you are anticipating any leftovers. Right before serving, stir in the basil and season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
While the pasta is cooking, prepare the cheesy topping. In a small bowl, combine the ricotta, Parmesan, salt, and pepper.
To serve, place a dollop of the cheesy yum in each soup bowl, sprinkle some of the mozzarella on top and ladle the hot soup over the cheese. Serve with garlic bread.
I like my soups to be thicker. To thicken your soup: Mix 2 tablespoons cornstarch with 3 tablespoons water and add to soup during the last five minutes of cooking.