I recently invited some friends over for a girls’ night out, and was trying to figure out what to serve for dinner. It seems like whenever I go out to eat with a bunch of girls, we always end up ordering soup and salad. That gave me the idea to serve soup and salad for our get-together. I had been meaning to try this soup from Cooking Classy, and it seemed perfect for the occasion as I knew all of us enjoy lasagna. I’m really happy that I settled on this one, as it was delicious and flavorful and tasted very similar to lasagna. Only because it is soup, you get to put toppings on it. That is my favorite part. The toppings on this soup are a creamy ricotta and Parmesan combination that melts, and then you get to swirl it into the hot broth where it mixes with the tomatoes, and there is this wonderful mixture that just melts in your mouth. (Sorry, it is hard for me not to talk in run on sentences when discussing food)! It is so good!
There is also an incredible amount of spices in this soup which is why I think it is so flavorful. It is very simple to make, and you can assemble it ahead of time and keep it in the refrigerator until needed, up to a week ahead. I think it would be great for a Christmas party because of this and also due to its pretty red and green colors. I love recipes where you are not having to rush around at the last-minute before a party. I served Apple, Bacon, and Candied Pecan Salad and bread sticks with it. But it is also perfect for a weeknight dinner as well and you could just do a simple green salad. It is a very versatile dish. I know I will be making it again and again.
One of the main reasons I had my friends over was because I wanted to show them the movie, “Moms’ Night Out”. We rented it a couple of weeks ago, and I really enjoyed it. The theme of the importance of and struggles of being a mom are present throughout, and it is just a fun, uplifting movie. I hope you get a chance to see it if you ever have doubts about your abilities as a mother or the importance of that role in your kids’ lives. We laughed and cried through dinner (talking about our kids), we laughed and cried through the movie (it was so touching and funny at the same time), and then we laughed and cried through dessert (because I forgot one of the ingredients and we almost chipped our teeth on the crust). That’s the life of a cook/mom/food blogger/wife/friend. Lots of laughing and crying. But it is wonderful to have friends to do it with you.
- 2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil, divided
- 1/2 lb. lean ground beef
- 3/4 lb. sweet or hot Italian pork sausage
- 1 large yellow onion, diced (approx. 2 cups)
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 4 c chicken broth
- 1 (14.5 oz. can) petite diced tomatoes (I used Hunts)
- 1 (14.5 oz) can crushed tomatoes (I used Hunts)
- 2 1/2 Tbsp. tomato paste (I used Hunts)
- 2 tsp. dried basil
- 3/4 tsp. dried oregano
- 1/2 tsp. dried rosemary
- 1/2 tsp. fennel seeds
- 1/2 tsp. dried thyme
- 1 1/2 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley, plus more for garnish
- 1 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1/2 tsp. pepper
- 8 lasagna noodles, broken into bite size pieces
- 1 1/4 c shredded Italian cheese blend (I used Trader Joe’s)
- 1/2 c canned grated Parmesan Cheese (I used Kraft)
- 8 oz. ricotta cheese
- Heat one Tbsp. olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat.
- Once the oil is hot, crumble beef and sausage into pot, season with salt and pepper to taste, and cook, stirring occasionally until browned, watching carefully so it doesn’t burn, then turn the heat to medium-low until cooked through.
- Drain the majority of fat from beef and sausage, and set the meat aside.
- Heat remaining 1 Tbsp. olive oil in pot, add chopped yellow onion and saute until it begins to soften, about 3 minutes.
- Add in garlic and saute, stirring every 30 seconds or so until garlic is cooked, but not brown. Be careful not to burn.
- Add in chicken broth, diced tomatoes, crushed tomatoes, 2 1/2 Tbsp. tomato paste, basil, oregano, rosemary, fennel seeds, thyme, parsley, the cooked meat, salt, and pepper. Bring just to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer, uncovered, 20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, prepare lasagna noodles according to directions listed on package. Drain.
- Add cooked pasta to soup.
- In a mixing bowl, stir together Parmesan cheese with ricotta until thoroughly combined.
- Ladle soup into bowls, dollop each serving with a scoop of the cheese mixture (I used my cookie scoop), sprinkle Italian cheese blend over the ricotta mixture, and then chopped parsley. Serve immediately.
- Store any leftovers in the refrigerator.
Recipe Source: Cook AZ I Do, slightly adapted from Cooking Classy‘s original recipe