I don’t know how anyone can not like lasagna.  I mean, what’s not to like?  Zesty, meaty tomato sauce with creamy ricotta, mild mozzarella, and salty Parmesan cheeses all carefully nestled between layers of velvety ribbons of pasta and baked to bubbling deliciousness… yum, right?  What I can understand, after only making lasagna the traditional way once in my life, is why one could not like making it.  Lots of steps to be followed with care; brittle, then too-sticky noodles; layer after nerve-racking layer; and then up to an hour in a hot oven.  I understood it so well, in fact, that that was the last time I made it… 20 years ago.  Well, I’ve found a way to get your lasagna fix without all the hassle. You get all the good stuff in an easy, delicious, piping hot bowl of soup.  Serve it with a crusty baguette or crisp Caesar salad, and you’ll be enjoying a bowl of it before you would’ve had the traditional style assembled and in the oven.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1/2 lb. lean ground beef
  • 1/2 lb. mild Italian sausage
  • 1 white onion, diced (about 3/4 cup)
  • 3-4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 32 oz. low-sodium chicken broth
  • 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
  • 8 oz. can tomato sauce
  • 1 T. tomato paste
  • 1 T. dried basil
  • 2 t. dried oregano
  • 1 t. dried thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Pasta: I used farfalle, but you can use whatever you like, including broken-up lasagna noodles.  I used a 1 lb. box.
  • 15 oz. ricotta cheese
  • 1 c. shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 c. grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 t. dried parsley flakes
  • Salt and pepper to taste

First, in a large pot or Dutch oven, brown the ground beef and Italian sausage until completely cooked.  Next, add the diced onion, and cook for about 10 minutes until the onion is translucent.

Then add the crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato paste, and all of the herbs.  Bring to a boil and then simmer for 30 minutes.

In a medium bowl, combine the ricotta, mozzarella, Parmesan, and parsley.  Season to taste with salt and pepper and refrigerate while the soup simmers.

Also, while the soup is simmering, cook your pasta according to package directions, minus a couple of minutes.  You want it to be just under al dente.  It will finish cooking in the soup.

Once the soup has simmered for at least 30 minutes, and the pasta is ready, add the pasta to the soup and simmer for another 2 to 5 minutes, or until the pasta is tender.

Ladle into bowls and top with the cheese mixture.  Served with bread, salad, or on its own, it’s hearty and satisfying.

You might also like Savory, Summer Minestrone.

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