I love soup season. Though for me, I enjoy seasonal soups all year round. This Italian inspired soup is pretty delicious. As a matter of fact, if you are a fan of lasagna, you will enjoy those flavors in this hearty winter favorite.
This soup has a rich, cheesy tomato based broth, spiked with basil and dried Italian herbs, onions, carrots and garlic. It’s studded with chewy strips of lasagna noodles, chunks of sweet Italian sausage, fresh spinach and creamy pearls of mozzarella cheese.
I love serving this with some crusty bread and those creamy mozzarella pearls on the side. If you can’t find mozzarella pearls, just cut some fresh mozzarella into bite size pieces. The thing I like about adding the mozzarella cheese is that I add them to the remainder of the soup before storing. And when I reheat the soup in the microwave, the cheese doesn’t disintegrate into the soup.
You may find other recipes that call for you to top the soup with a plop of ricotta. And I’ve done that with this soup in the past. But I found that the ricotta changed both the temperature of my bowl of soup, cooling it down too quickly, and it changed the broth to a more creamy version. And to me, it just watered down that intense tomato flavor. And this broth it too good to be watered down!
The finely grated cheese in the broth, along with those little mozzarella balls and a big sprinkling of grated parmesan on top make this soup cheesy enough to think you are eating your favorite recipe for lasagna in soup form!
This is one of those soups you can certainly play with. You can make this vegetarian if you’d like. Or add any vegetables or protein you desire. What’s in your favorite lasagna?
- 1½ lbs. of sweet Italian sausage
- 6 ounces of fresh spinach
- 1 onion, diced
- 3 carrots, diced
- 3 cloves of garlic, minced
- 32 ounces of chicken stock
- 2 (15 oz.) cans of low sodium diced tomatoes in Italian seasoning
- 1 (15 oz.) can of tomato sauce
- ¼ cup of finely grated parmesan cheese
- ¼ cup of mozzarella pearls
- 1 Tablespoon of olive oil
- 1 Tablespoon of tomato paste
- 1 Tablespoon of partially dried basil (I use Gourmet Garden)
- 1 teaspoon of dried Italian herbs
- 1 teaspoon of sugar
- 8 lasagna strips, broken into pieces
- extra grated parmesan cheese for topping
- Heat the olive oil in a large stock pot or dutch oven.
- Add the onions and carrots and saute until softened, about 4 minutes.
- Add the garlic and stir another minute.
- Add the sausage and stir, while breaking up the sausage, until the sausage is cooked, about 4 minutes.
- Drain any excess oil from the pot and return to the heat.
- Add the Italian herbs, basil, and tomato paste and stir to combine.
- Add the chicken stock, tomatoes, tomato paste, and 1 cup of water.
- Bring to a boil.
- Add the parmesan cheese and stir to combine.
- Add the lasagna noodles one or two at a time, stirring to separate the noodles.
- Reduce the heat and simmer for an additional 10 minutes, until the noodles are soft.
- Stir in the spinach.
- Season with salt & pepper.
- To serve, place several mozzarella pearls into the bottom of your bowl.
- Spoon in the soup.
- Sprinkle with extra basil and parmesan cheese if desired.
- NOTE: Alternately you can cook the noodles separately in a pot of water according to the package instructions for al dente noodles and add them to your broth.