Photo by Tom McCorkle for The Washington Post
This supremely satisfying soup embodies all the flavors and textures of the crowd-pleasing pasta bake. Its tomato-y broth wafts with garlic, oregano and basil. Italian-style poultry sausage flavors it further and offers meaty bites throughout. Lasagna noodles, broken up into the pot to cook until al dente, give it hearty substance. Fresh spinach tossed in at the end of cooking provides dashes of emerald color and vegetable nutrition. Served with a contrasting dollop of cool, creamy ricotta, a sprinkle of Parmesan and fresh basil, it’s an alluring bowl of goodness that’s destined to become a family favorite. Storage Notes: Leftover soup can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.
1 tablespoon olive oil
8 ounces sweet Italian-style chicken sausage, casings removed (see NOTE)
1 medium yellow onion (about 8 ounces), diced
3 cloves garlic, minced or finely grated
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon fine sea or table salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
One (15-ounce) can no-salt-added crushed tomatoes
1 cup water
4 ounces lasagna sheets, broken into pieces (about 5 noodles)
3 cups (2 ounces) lightly packed fresh spinach leaves, coarsely chopped
1/3 cup ricotta cheese (part-skim or whole)
1/4 cup (scant 1 ounce) grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, cut into ribbons
In a large, heavy soup pot over medium-high heat, heat the oil until shimmering. Add the sausage and onion and cook, stirring frequently and breaking up the sausage with the spoon as it cooks, until the onion has softened and the sausage is browned, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until aromatic, about 30 seconds, then stir in the tomato paste, oregano, basil, salt and pepper.
Add the broth, crushed tomatoes and water (swirl it around the empty tomato can to get all the tomato flavor out) and bring to a boil. Add the lasagna noodles, then reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the noodles are al dente and the soup has reduced slightly, about 15 minutes. Stir in the spinach and remove from the heat.
Ladle the soup into bowls and top each portion with a dollop of ricotta, then sprinkle with the Parmesan and basil, and serve.
NOTE: If you cannot find chicken sausage that has easily removable casings — typically sold at the butcher’s counter in the supermarket — you can purchase a packaged chicken sausage, such as Applegate brand, and slice them into medallions. Follow the searing directions above, but don’t worry about breaking the medallions into pieces.
Makes 4 servings
Serving size: 2 cups
Per Serving: Calories 467; Total Fat 28g (Sat Fat 4g); Protein 27g; Carb 37g; Fiber 5g; Cholesterol 102mg; Sodium 575mg: Sugars 7g