There is an old proverb that says “The way to a man’s heart is through their stomach.” So when I had the opportunity to cook for my husband for the first time, it was late May, still a bit cool outside, and I thought soup, homemade bread and rosemary compound butter would be amazing. I made a simple chicken noodle soup, made the stock from chicken bones, a little bit of fat glistened on the top of the broth when I put the steaming bowl of soup in front of him. He loved it! Said how rich the flavor was, the bread was crisp on the outside, yet a bit chewy on the inside, and he’d never had herbed butter before so it was a win all the way around.
I scooped up our dishes, threw them in the dishwasher and declared “Are you ready to go to the movies?” Upon which he said “What’s for dinner?!” It was then and there that I realized my husband definitely did not consider soup a full dinner. I completely disagree. I think soup is the best thing for dinner, especially on a cold winters day, and I love that you can make a big pot of soup and have it later in the week for lunches.
As a food blogger, I am always finding new recipes to try, and rarely make a dish more than once before moving on. So a few years ago when I stumbled across this recipe for lasagna soup, I was definitely intrigued! I love lasagna, so why not? Well my friends, since then I have literally made this soup at least once a week, even in the summer, and it’s a show stopper. The best part is that you can customize it any way you want. I actually leave out the cheezy goodness because I am trying to watch my waist, but you could easily add ricotta cheese to your bowl before spooning the soup into it, and grate some fresh parmesan cheese over the top as well.
I also cook the noodles separately and reheat the noodles with the soup later – otherwise if the noodles sit in the broth, they soak up all the broth, and the noodles become limp with no texture. To make this more of a dinner meal, I’ve also added in cooked cheese ravioli. But my basic recipe is below. Pinky swear this will become your new favorite!
- 1 pound Italian sausage, casing removed
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
- 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
- 6 cups chicken stock
- 8 ounces of pasta, cooked and drained
- ½ cup finely chopped basil
- 1 cup chopped baby spinach
In a stock pot over medium heat, add the sausage and cook until it’s no longer pink, about 5-7 minutes. Add in the tomato paste and cook an additional minute. Reduce to a simmer, and add the garlic, Italian seasoning, crushed red pepper flakes, crushed tomatoes and chicken stock and cook for 15 minutes. This makes about 6 servings – 1.5 cups of the soup with .5 cup cooked pasta. Once I combine the soup and pasta, I’ll top each bowl with the chopped basil and baby spinach.
I made this for a crowd and knew this would all be eaten with no leftovers, so combined it all together in a big stock pot, with fresh bread for dipping.
Seriously, my all-time favorite soup, and that’s saying a lot coming from a soup lover like me.
Now that we are heading into colder temps in Chicago, it’s the perfect time to take some of The Chopping Block's upcoming cooking classes that feature soup and bread baking:
At Lincoln Square on November 28, we have The Perfect Pair: Soup and Bread Workshop. On the menu: Broccoli Cheddar Soup in Bread Bowls and Shrimp and Andouille Sausage Gumbo with Cheddar Scallion Cornbread. How good does that sound?
Also at Lincoln Square on December 4, we have Cold-Weather Soups and Stews. On the menu: Mushroom Beef Barley Soup; Crab and Potato Chowder with Fresh Herb Biscuits and Ribolitta, which is a Tuscan stew with beans and vegetables.
What’s your favorite soup of all time? I’d love to hear.