We all know that making a huge pan of lasagna can be a time-consuming and labor-intensive task. But, lasagna is one of those comforting dishes that most everyone adores. This particular recipe is a fun and simple twist on traditional lasagna. It's made right on the stove and there's only about fifteen minutes of actual hands-on prep time. You'll find all of the flavors and components of lasagna present here, but in soup form.
I chose not to add in any kind of ground beef or Italian sausage simply because my kids are not wild about those two ingredients. I would recommend about a half of a pound of either for this amount of soup if you'd like to include it. (It should be browned in the pot prior to the addition of the onion, garlic and green pepper.) Alternatively, you could swap in vegetable stock in place of the chicken stock should you desire to keep this completely vegetarian.
Regarding the pasta for this recipe, you can buy Campenelle pasta, which looks like mini lasagna noodles. But, regular lasagna noodles work just fine. Just break them into pieces. I used about 8 - 9 large lasagna noodles. Any smaller-sized pasta would work, however. (I have even made this with egg noodles.)
Yields 4 - 5 servings.
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, peeled and diced
3 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
1/2 green pepper, seeded and chopped
2 tablespoons tomato paste
A pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1 bay leaf
5 cups chicken stock
28 - 30 ounces crushed or stewed tomatoes
1 teaspoon brown sugar (to cut the acidity of the tomatoes)
2 cups (approx.) dried curly pasta (see paragraph above regarding pasta)
1/2 cup grated mozzarella cheese (plus more for garnish)
4 - 5 tablespoons ricotta cheese (for garnish)
A handful of fresh basil (chopped or torn)
Cook onion, garlic and green pepper in oil over medium-low heat in a large soup pot or Dutch oven for about 3 minutes. Add in tomato paste, crushed red pepper flakes, Italian seasoning and a good pinch of salt.
Stir to combine and allow to continue cooking for a few more minutes. Add in bay leaf.
Pour in chicken stock and tomatoes. Add brown sugar. Stir. Increase heat and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and allow to simmer for about 20 - 30 minute to meld the flavors together. At this point, taste and check for seasoning. (More salt, dried herbs or pepper flakes may be desired.)
Add in pasta and cook for about 10 minutes or until pasta is tender. Stir occasionally during the time pasta is cooking.
Turn off heat. Add in 1/2 cup of shredded mozzarella and stir to completely melt.
Ladle into bowls or soup crocks. Dollop about 1 tablespoon of ricotta into each bowl of soup. Garnish with additional mozzarella and fresh basil.
Serve with garlic bread or bread sticks for dipping.
NOTE: Leftover soup will thicken up a bit in the fridge. A splash of stock or water can be added when reheating soup if a thinner consistency is desired.
01/30/17: Updated photos and made clarifications to post.