GAWD I love lasagna.
The meat. The cheese. The noodles. That steaming-hot-melting-beefy-saucy quality that just feels like a hug from your nonna.
What I don’t love is how long it takes to make.
That’s why I love this soup. It has everything that lasagna has in a slightly different form. It’s so easy to make, so warming on a cold night, and not NEARLY as heavy. It’s basically a chicken soup flavored with Italian ingredients.
Why don’t I just show you how to make it?
Lasagna Soup (adapted from here)
4 cups chicken stock
1 lb. lean ground beef
1 28 oz. can peeled tomatoes
2 tbsp. italian seasoning
2 cloves garlic, diced
1 onion, diced
2 tsp. vegetable oil
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/3 cup breadcrumbs
1 tsp. sriracha
1 box noodles (any will do, but I like orzo or ditalini), cooked
salt and pepper to taste
Ricotta cheese to plate, room temperature
buffalo mozzarella to plate, room temperature
pecorino to plate
1. Sautee the onion, garlic, and Italian seasoning with the veggie oil in a large stockpot over medium heat for about 12 minutes, or until the veggies have turned translucent, but not browned or burned. In the meantime…
That’s what she said.
Let the soup simmer, covered, until the meatballs are cooked through – about 15 minutes or so. Be sure to check them careful because these are soft meatballs that easily fall apart. That’s why you don’t want to bring the soup to a full rolling boil while cooking them.
5. Add the Sriracha. Trust me, the vinegayr taste disappears in the heat and you are left with a slight burn that works so well with Italian flavors – it’s one of my favorite new tricks! Let cook for a few minutes more and then taste for seasonings feel free to add salt or pepper if you need it.
6. You may need to skim some fat off of the top now. If you don’t have a fat separator (which I HIGHLY recommend buying) do it by ladling the very top layer of the soup into a glass and letting the fat come to the top, then spooning or pouring off the fat. Don’t skip this step, you don’t want a mouthful of grease.
Finally, it’s time to plate! If your noodles aren’t freshly cooked, microwave them until they are quite warm, then…
This isn’t the same as a brick of hearty lasagna, but in some ways, it’s even better. It’s lighter. It’s just as cheesy. The meat is softer and squishier, which I happen to love. And the flavor is spot on. The Sriracha adds a bit of heat and the herbed breadcrumbs carry the salt and aroma of Italian flavors all the way through the soup. The pasta adds the necessary starch, and though you could add tomato paste to thicken the soup, the contrast of the light broth with the juicy tomatoes and hearty meatballs is very satisfying. Be sure to let the soup sit for about 5 minutes before you serve it – that lets the ricotta and mozzarella warm, making the soup creamy and melty, stretching telephone wires of cheese from bowl to mouth. The pecorino is the final sharp touch to what might be the perfect bowl of soup.