I have the utmost respect for silky smooth puréed soups but, for me, a chunky soup that’s like an all-in-one meal wins every time. That’s one of the reasons I liked lasagna soup from the first time I tried it. It’s a family-friendly main course I can easily pull together on a weeknight, comforting in all the ways I love in a soup.
What Is Lasagna Soup?
Quite simply, lasagna soup is a soup that’s made with all of the ingredients you love in a classic lasagna. You’ve got a tomato broth base that’s seasoned with Italian herbs, bite-sized lasagna noodles, crumbled Italian sausage, and a three-cheese topping to finish it off.
The Best Noodles for Lasagna Soup
Lasagna noodles are, of course, the obvious choice for making lasagna soup. You’ll want to break them into bite-sized pieces before cooking them, of course.
Alternatively, there are lots of other pasta shapes that will work well. Ribbon-shaped pastas such as reginetti and Mafalda, which look like mini ruffle-edged lasagna noodles, are great choices. Farfalle (aka “bowtie pasta”) and bell-shaped campanelle also pair well with hearty soups like lasagna soup.
Why Cook the Noodles Separately?
While it does require the use of one more pot (and I know how we like a one-pot meal), I’m going to make a case for boiling the noodles separately from the rest of your lasagna soup. The issue at hand is noodle mushiness—and avoiding it.
- Serving time flexibility. If you’re planning to serve the soup immediately, you can cook the noodles right in the soup without having to worry about them becoming mushy. But if you let the noodles simmer for longer than about 10 minutes, they’re likely to get overcooked. Keeping the cooked noodles separate from the broth gives you the option to delay serving the soup (even by just a few minutes), should you need the flexibility, without compromising the noodle texture.
- Better reheating. If you anticipate wanting to reheat this soup at a later time, you’re better off cooking and storing the noodles separately so they don’t soak up the broth and become, once again, mushy.
You can tweak this very flexible soup recipe to your preferences. Here are a few ideas:
- Add greens. You can easily incorporate baby spinach, kale, or other greens to this soup. In Step 4, once the soup has simmered for 10 minutes, add about 5 ounces (more or less, it’s up to you) of baby or chopped greens and continue simmering until they’re tender and wilted, about 5 more minutes.
- Simmer with a Parmesan rind. If you’ve ever enjoyed a soup that’s been simmered with a Parmesan rind, you know the savory depth of flavor it can bring. If you’ve got a rind in your refrigerator―or perhaps you’ll obtain one once you grate the Parmesan for this recipe―go ahead and toss it in the pot in Step 4. Just remember to discard it before serving.
- Switch up the sausage. Lighten up this soup a bit with Italian-style chicken, turkey, or plant-based sausage. Alternatively, you can omit the sausage entirely.
Beloved Italian Soup Recipes
- Italian Wedding Soup
- Stracciatella alla Romana
- Easy Tuscan Bean Soup
- Pasta e Fagioli
- Tomato and Bread Soup (Pappa al Pomodoro)
Cook the noodles:
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the broken lasagna noodles according to the package directions. Drain, rinse the noodles with cold water (this will stop the cooking process and prevent the pasta from sticking together), then set aside.
Brown the sausage:
While the pasta is cooking, heat the olive oil in a large (at least 4 quart) Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat. Add the sausage, breaking it up with a wooden spoon. Cook until the sausage is mostly browned, 5 to 7 minutes.
Add the aromatics, tomato paste, and seasonings:
Add the onion and garlic to the sausage. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the aromatics are softened, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the tomato paste, dried basil, dried oregano, and crushed red pepper and cook, stirring, until the tomato paste darkens, about 2 minutes.
Add the broth, tomatoes, and water:
Add the chicken broth, crushed tomatoes, and 1 cup of water and bring the soup to a boil, uncovered. Skim any film that may rise to the surface from the sausage. Reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, for 15 minutes.
Mix the ricotta and Parmesan:
While the soup simmers, combine the ricotta and Parmesan in a medium bowl. Season with 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt and a dash of black pepper.
Assemble the soup and serve:
Add about 1 cup of cooked pasta to each individual serving bowl. Taste the soup and season with salt and/or pepper if it needs it. Ladle soup into each serving bowl, over the pasta (the heat from the soup will warm the noodles to serving temperature). Top each bowl with mozzarella cheese, the ricotta mixture, and torn basil.
Store the cooked noodles and soup in separate airtight containers in the refrigerator for 3 to 5 days.
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