1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 lb. sausage
2 tsp. red pepper flakes
1 tsp. fennel seed
1 1/2 c. chopped onion
3 large cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. dried basil
2 bay leaves
6 oz. can tomato paste
14 1/2 oz can petite diced tomatoes
14 1/2 oz can tomato puree
4-6 cups beef or chicken stock
1-2 cups small pasta such as mini bow ties or fusilli
salt and pepper to taste
Ingredients for Ricotta Cheese Mixture
1 cup freshly grated mozzarella cheese
Heat oil in a large Dutch oven. Add sausage, red pepper flakes, fennel and brown for about 5 minutes. Add onions and brown until softened. Add garlic, oregano, basil and cook for 1 minute so that the garlic smell comes out, but doesn't burn. Add 2 Tbsp. of tomato paste and cook until the mixture becomes a rusty brown color. Then add bay leaves, the remainder of the tomato paste, petite tomatoes, tomato puree, and stock. You may need to add more petite diced tomatoes or stock to make it soupy. Bring to a boil, the reduce heat and simmer for about 30 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning to your likeness. While soup is simmering, make the Ricotta Cheese Mixture (recipe below).
Note: At this point, if you don't think you will eat up the soup or if you want to freeze some of the soup, do not add the noodles (noodles don't freeze well). You can cook the noodles separately and just spoon the soup over the noodles instead of adding the noodles to the soup as per the instructions below. Otherwise, proceed as follows:
Add more stock or water if soup is too thick. You want the soup to be like soup and not a stew. Then bring mixture to a good boil. Add the pasta -- how much pasta depends upon how many noodles you want. Cook until noodle are al dente. Do not add noodles until ready to eat as the longer they cook, the thicker and more mushy the soup will become.
|This obviously has too much cheese! :)|
Put soup into a deep bowl. Place a dollop of Ricotta Cheese Mixture on top (a large rounded soup spoonful. Sprinkle mozzarella cheese on top. If you want it extra cheesy, add more, but if you hold back, it won't be quite as cheesy and I think it is easier to eat.
Ricotta Cheese Mixture
8 oz. ricotta cheese (half of a 15 oz. carton or make your own)
1/2 c. freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 tsp. salt
freshly ground black pepper
In a small bowl, combine all ingredients together until well mixed.