First let me say that my son got this recipe from a his girlfriend, a book or the internet, but I don’t know where, so I can’t properly acknowledge it. It’s good. This is what he had planned to make for Christmas dinner this year. Enjoy! (I don’t know how to get the spacing any closer together — sorry about that.)
2 tsp. olive oil
1-1/2 lbs. Italian sausage
3 C chopped onions
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes (can omit if you don’t want)
2 T. tomato paste
1 28-oz. can fire roasted diced tomatoes
2 bay leaves
6 cups (not cans!) chicken stock
8 oz. mafalda or fusilli pasta (any pasta would work, even like elbow macaroni or whatever is cute!)
1/2 C finely chopped fresh basil leaves
salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
for the “cheesy yum”:
8 oz. ricotta
1/2 C grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 tsp. salt
pinch of freshly ground pepper
2 C 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. Add uncooked pasta and cook until al dente. Do not overcook or let soup simmer for a long period of time at this point, as the pasta will get mushy. Stir in 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 cheesy yum in each soup bowl, sprinkle some of the mozzarella on top and ladle the hot soup over the cheese.