Just when we’re ready to chuck our ice scrapers into the Potomac, Mother Nature gifted us with yet another snowstorm. It was bigger than the other little teasers we’ve been dealt this winter (and by big I mean accumulation of 5″) and it gave me my first snow day, which means I got to spend the morning in my kitchen. I also spent the afternoon and evening in my kitchen, so it was a successful day overall. My roommate and I tag teamed a thirty-minute one-pot soup that I ate in about thirty seconds.
She originally suggested soup, something like minestrone or vegetable, and I was in the mood for lasagna. As good roommates do, we compromised, and discovered a new thing: lasagna soup! Well that’s what the kids are calling it on the recipe sites but I refuse to call it that. The sheer discovery of its existence in digital recipe world is both horrifying and inspiring. Lasagna soup sounds like the perfect description for a giant vat of wet noodles drowning in tomato paste. I also image a bowl of SpaghettiOs topped with half-melted cheese and a dash of dried herbs. Uh-oh! is right because that all sounds like one big mistake. What we made in the red dutch oven was not a mistake. It’s quintessential wintery nourishment that comes together quickly, leaves behind little dishes and deserves a title that doesn’t make me want to throw up then kill myself. (Craig Middlebrooks style)
I have to admit that I’m not typically turned on by tomato-based soups or stews, with the exception of a similar sausage tortellini soup my mom makes every Christmas, but I liked this so much I’ll be adding it to my tomato-based exceptions list.
It’s one of those mix and match recipes I like to compare to a Goosebumps book. In the book you’re presented with options to choose your own ending and you can do the same with this recipe. If you don’t want Italian sausage, swap in chicken sausage or ground turkey. Not feeling the bowtie pasta? Use tortellini, orecchiette, conchiglie or if you insist on that lasagna thing, break up lasagna noodles and throw them in. You can also pick your pepper poison. We used red and orange bell peppers because that’s what we had in the fridge. By all means, use what you’ve got!
Sausage and Bowtie One-Pot Soup
1 lb. sweet Italian sausage (removed from casing)
1 cup bell pepper, chopped
1/2 large onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp fennel seeds
3.5 cups chicken broth
8 oz. can tomato sauce
14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
2 bay leaves
Parmesan rind (optional)
3 cups spinach
6 oz farfalle or broken lasagna noodles
1 ball mozzarella
1/2 cup ricotta
First, chop all the veggies and garlic. Wash your spinach and remove the stems if that’s your thing.
Warm an 8 quart stock pot or dutch oven over medium-high heat, drizzle olive oil into warmed pan and add sausage; brown sausage for about 3-5 minutes, stirring occasionally to break it up.
Add the onion, pepper and garlic to the pot with another drizzle of olive oil and cook stirring often until tender; about 5 minutes.
Add the red pepper flakes, fennel, chicken broth, tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, bay leaves, parmesan rind (if using) and spinach and bring to a boil; add pasta.
Cover and cook for 10-12 minutes or until pasta is al dente. Remove bay leaves and parmesan rind. Top with mozzarella, ricotta and basil before serving.