Oh my gosh! This was so good. I found this recipe online, and tweaked it just a little, and it's definitely a keeper, especially if it's cold outside. I served it with warm French bread. Also, Paul preferred it without the ricotta and I preferred it with the ricotta. Also, to keep the pasta firm, I just cooked it and didn't add it to the soup. I added it to the bowl and poured the soup over it.
Ingredients for the soup:
2 tsp. olive oil (I didn't use any oil)
1-1/2 lbs. Italian sausage
3 cups chopped onions
4 garlic cloves, minced (I sliced mine)
2 tsp. oregano
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 cans fire roasted diced tomatoes
2 bay leaves
6 c. chicken stock
8 oz. fusilli pasta
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh basil leaves
salt and ground pepper, to taste
(I also added some homemade meatballs cut into quarters)
for the cheesy bit:
8 oz. ricotta
1/2 c. grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 tsp. salt
ground pepper to taste
(I added some Italian seasoning and Johnny's Great Caesar Garlic Salt)
for additional cheesy bit:
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
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, bay leaves, and chicken stock. Stir to combine. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes. 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 ricotta mixture in each soup bowl, sprinkle some of the mozzarella on top and ladle the hot soup over the cheese.