Lasagna Soup

Sometimes it seems like recipes are remakes of good old favorites. You prepare your old standby, but make little changes in order to perfect it. That's all well and good, but sometimes you just need to think outside the box and take your old favorite recipe and put it into a new context. That's what I did last night after I'd had an epiphany earlier in the week: one of my favorite foods of all time is lasagna, but what if you took the components of lasagna and turned them into one of my other favorite winter foods, soup. It just seemed to make total sense. Instead of an elaborate layered pasta dish, it would be a tomato soup with ruffly pasta, Italian sausage, and spinach, which all go into my favorite lasagna recipe. To get the cheesiness, the soup would be topped with mozzarella and a mixture of ricotta and Parmesan for a creamy topping. This is like a lighter version of the usual heavy lasagna, so if you are watching your weight this would be a great substitute.

The only problem I had with this recipe is that I intended to use lasagnette, which are like the big lasagna sheets, but miniaturized. I chose a different ruffly pasta, radiatore (which means radiator, in Italian) because they would also look beautiful in the soup. If you have trouble finding either of these, any small, pretty pasta would work, including fusilli, rotini, or gemelli. Feel free to add your favorite herbs and vegetables as well, if you wish.

Lasagna Soup

3 turkey Italian sausage links, casings removed
3 clove garlic, minced
1/2 medium onion, minced
4 cups low sodium chicken broth
2 cups marinara sauce
2 cups water
1/2 tsp dried basil
1 tsp fresh thyme
1 tsp brown sugar (optional, if the marinara is too acidic)
1 cup uncooked pasta
2 cups chopped fresh spinach
1/2 cup + 2 tbsp part-skim ricotta cheese
2 tbsp Parmesan cheese
1 tbsp skim milk
1 1/2 cups 2% milk mozzarella cheese
non-stick cooking spray
salt and pepper, to taste

1. Heat a non-stick soup pot over medium-high heat. Add the sausage and cook until it is no longer pink, crumbling it as it cooks. Add the onion and garlic and saute them until the onion is transparent.
2. Add the broth, marinara, water, basil, thyme, sugar, if using, and salt and pepper to taste. Turn the heat up to high and bring the mixture to a boil. Add the pasta and cook the pasta according to package directions.
3. While the pasta is cooking, combine the ricotta, Parmesan, and milk in a small bowl. Mix to combine and set aside.
4. When the pasta only has 2 more minutes to cook, add the spinach and allow it to wilt down.
5. Serve the pasta with a sprinkle of mozzarella and a dollop of the ricotta mixture on top as garnishes.

Servings per recipe: 6
Per serving:
Calories: 262
Fat: 11.6 g
Saturated fat: 4.7 g
Cholesterol: 54 mg
Sodium: 893 mg
Carbohydrates: 17.5 g
Fiber: 2.6 g
Sugar: 8.5 g
Protein: 21 g

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