Friday, June 21, 2013

Lasagna Soup

Well the last week has been a whirlwind of travel from Frankfurt to Venice via Rothenberg, Munich, and Innsbruck. I've never traveled this route before, and I'm finding it pronounces the cultural differences between Germany and Italy in a great way. While Germany has always been steadfastly loyal to me in that I'll always get what I expect (in a good way), Italy gets better and better each time. For a while I resisted falling in love with Italy - what a cliche, right? - but it truly is a beautiful country.
As this was my first time to Venice I had to do the gondola ride and all that jazz. It was peaceful and serene, an unexpected respite from the narrow streets filled with tourists. For lunch: a pizza of arugula and Parma ham and good conversation with a New Yorker here for work (her boss is some guy with the last name Armani).  And gelato...but not as many gelatos as eiskaffees in Germany!

Best of all, the students I'm traveling with have been wonderful.  They are excited for every new experience and are doing their best to learn a little of the local languages.  Of course, they love the food as well.
Well, I obviously made this lasagna soup before I departed, but thought it timely to post it while in la Bella Italia. By no means is it traditional (or all that seasonal) but extremely delicious and very simple to make. Tomorrow I'm off to Verona, completing my stay in Italy before continuing back north to Switzerland. Inspiration for future posts guaranteed.

Ingredients (makes about 5 servings):
Modified from recipe at A Farmgirl's Dabbles
  • 1/2 lb. pasta of your choice, but a something large and "curly" (I used cavatappi)
  • 1 lb. lean ground turkey
  • 4 cups low sodium chicken stock
  • 1 large can (32 oz.) of whole stewed tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 1/2 large yellow onion, finely diced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, finely chopped
  • 8 oz. low-fat ricotta
  • 2 tbsp. grated parmesan
  • 1 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tbsp. fennel seeds
  • 1/2 tbsp. dried parsley
  • 1/2 tbsp. dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. allspice
  • 2 bay leaves

Place a large pot or dutch oven on the stove top over medium heat.

In a large bowl, mix together the ground turkey, fennel seeds, dried parsley, dried oregano, salt, black pepper, allspice, and cayenne pepper. (Or, use premade ground Italian sausage.)  Sear in the pot until cooked through and browned.  
Add the diced onion, garlic, and red pepper flakes to the pot and cook for about 5 minutes until onions have softened.  Stir in the tomato paste, and about a half tablespoon on the chopped basil, and cook for a another minute or two.
Into the pot goes the stewed tomatoes (crushed with your hands) and the tomato juice, chicken stock, and bay leaves.  Bring to a boil and add the pasta to cook.
As the pasta cooks, in a bowl mix together the ricotta, parmesan, and remaining basil.  Add a heaping tablespoon to the pot to make the soup a little creamy.
When the pasta is al dente, serve by topping each bowl with a heaping tablespoon of the cheese.  Either ladle broth over the cheese to help it melt, or place under the broiler for a few minutes.  
As a warning, if you don't serve the soup right away, the pasta will continue to absorb the broth and the soup will become a chili consistency - which is still delicious.


  1. Made it last night and it came out spectacularly! Spicy and delicious, though we were pretty liberal with the cayenne pepper and red pepper flakes. Also, good note on serving it al dente - we took it off the heat a little firm and it continued to cook to perfection.


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