Lasagna Soup and Olympic Belly Rubs

It occurred to me today that we missed a major window of opportunity with Izzy. She has this new thing—when she sees me coming from a distance, she comes up along side me, catches stride and then lunges a few feet ahead in a swan dive/belly up maneuver. How can you not stop to stoop and scratch a belly with that sort of desperation? Another thought—if they have Olympic Belly Rub Relays, Izzy would be the perfect anchor leg.

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So, I found this dish an unappetizing concept until I made it, but it is De-Licious. A hearty fall soup with Italian zing. Something about wrinkly noodles in dark broth evokes the primordial…but lasagna in casserole is not particularly fetching at baseline either. Taste knows no shape.

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Lasagna Soup

Adapted from Food Network

8 ounces lasagna noodles, broken into pieces (about 10 noodles)

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling

1 onion, chopped

1/2 pound hot or sweet Italian sausage, casings removed

3 cloves garlic, chopped

1 teaspoon dried oregano

2 tablespoons tomato paste

4 cups low-sodium chicken broth

1 15 -ounce can crushed tomatoes

1/2 cup chopped fresh basil, plus thinly sliced leaves for topping

1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese (plus more for sprinkling, optional)

1/4 cup heavy cream or half-and-half

Ricotta cheese, for topping

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Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the noodles and cook as the label directs. Drain; drizzle with olive oil and toss.

Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring, until softened, about 4 minutes. Add the sausage, garlic and oregano and cook, stirring and breaking up the sausage with a wooden spoon, until the sausage is browned, about 3 minutes. Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring, until darkened, about 2 minutes.

Add the chicken broth, tomatoes and 1 cup water; cover and bring to a simmer. Uncover and cook until slightly reduced, about 10 minutes. Stir in the noodles, basil, parmesan and heavy cream; simmer 2 more minutes.

Divide the soup among bowls. Top with ricotta and sliced basil. Rub your own belly…

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