Saturday, December 10, 2011

I'll take the blame

Pinterest is a lot to blame, or thank, for my expanded repertoire of foodstuff recipes.  My boyfriend and friends are thankful, my waistline blames.  As often as I’m able I will make sure I link back to the blogs or sites where I encountered the dishes.

One such site is A farmgirl’s dabbles, where I found a recipe for Lasagna Soup.  I love that it is finally winter, the only reason I love winter is that I can make lots of soups. 

Last night I cooked a whole chicken in a Crockpot so I could have homemade chicken stock for this recipe.  Don’t know if that means that my lasagna soup will have the same healing properties as grandma’s chicken noodle soup, but regardless I know exactly what is in my stock, chicken, water and bay. No added sodium.

Probably my least favorite part of making this soup is the crumbling the sausage by hand.  I don’t mind the handling raw meat, but it’s cold!   And this sausage kept sticking to my fingers…

The rest of the steps went by fast, course it helped that I had everything pre-chopped or pre-measured.  My only snafu was the chicken stock.  Having cooked it the night before, I put it in the fridge after straining it to solidify the fat.  I did not measure it…who can tell me what happens to chicken stock, or turkey stock when refrigerated?  Especially the kind made using the bones/carcass?  Yup, it turned into a jello of sorts…and measuring this is very difficult.  So I made a plea to whoever was listening and dumped the whole bowl in…it looks just about right, so I’m gonna keep my fingers crossed, and hope for the best!

Now we bring it to a boil, and wait…in the meantime I’m going to mix up the “cheesy yum.”  I have never used ricotta cheese before; I will make sure to use it more often!  YUM!  This would be loads better in lasagna than the cottage cheese I’ve always used!

One of the more interesting things about blogging WHILE cooking is the timing issue…when cooking something that is quick, it is sometimes difficult to take pictures while cooking…for something like this…oh how I wish time would pass faster, it smells divine already and I’m ready for a bowl!  You are supposed to bring it to a boil, then reduce and simmer for 30 minutes…it’s taken almost 20 minutes to come to a boil.  

Now is also a good time to talk about the bread.  When I made the pizza roll-up I used half of that dough for the buns/mini-loaves we are going to eat tonight.  So just as a refresher, I added Italian seasoning and garlic powder to the dough…

And through the miracle that is the “interwebs”, I bring you…lasagna soup

Lasagna Soup
(print recipe)
for the soup:
2 tsp. olive oil
1-1/2 lbs. Italian sausage
3 c. chopped onions (I use sweet onions, no tears)
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
2 T. tomato paste
1 28-oz. can fire roasted diced tomatoes
2 bay leaves
6 c. chicken stock
8 oz. mafalda or fusilli pasta (I couldn't find these so I used campanelle)
1/2 c. finely chopped fresh basil leaves
salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
for the cheesy yum:
8 oz. ricotta
1/2 c. grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 tsp. salt
pinch of freshly ground pepper
2 c. shredded mozzarella cheese
Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add sausage, breaking up into bite sized pieces, and brown for about 5 minutes. Add onions and cook until softened, about 6 minutes. 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 over cook or let soup simmer for a long period of time at this point, as the pasta will get mushy. Stir in basil and season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
While the pasta is cooking, prepare the cheesy yum. 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.
Servings:  8

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