- 2 tsp. olive oil
- 1-1/2 lbs. Italian sausage
- 3 c. chopped onions
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tsp. dried oregano
- 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
- 2 T. tomato paste
- 1 14-oz. can diced tomatoes
- 1 jar of your favorite spaghetti sauce (I don't use anything but Mama DiSalvo's)
- 2 bay leaves
- 6 c. chicken stock
- 8 oz. fusilli pasta
- 1/2 c. finely chopped fresh basil leaves
- 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
- 2 c. shredded Italian Blend cheese
for the soup:
for the cheesy yum:
additional cheesy yum:
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, sauce, bay leaves, and chicken stock. Stir to combine. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat and simmer for at least 30 minutes (I let mine simmer for a couple of hours). 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 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 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 Italian Blend on top and ladle the hot soup over the cheese.