I’m pretty spoiled when we’re down in Florida. We really enjoy eating out at the local joints so I get a break from the never ending job of grocery shopping, unloading, cooking, and dishes. As much as I actually like all those things (aside from the unloading and dishes, obviously) to say that I would pick them over sitting in flip flops being served an icy margarita and fish tacos would just not be honest.
Give me all the flip flops and fish tacos baby. Summer forever, am I right?
Yet the reality sets in the night before the painfully early flight. You can literally feel yourself trying to soak it all in. Just one more jump in the pool, one more swing of the golf club, one last breath of hot humid air. The fun in the sun seemed to end quicker than the sun seems to set in Chicago. Boo. It was time to go home. Home to dark and cold and black leggings and winter gear.
Sigh. But hey, at least we have Christmas! And I do get to get back to working away in my kitchen. Always a good thing.
That first meal back is always so fun for me. I literally start thinking about what I will make days before. Flipping through the latest edition of Bon Appétit on the beach or scanning Food Network online. Day dreaming about food and cooking is about as good as it gets for me.
I knew this meal had to be comforting. Hello, we were leaving Florida. Thought it might be a fun twist to keep it a little festive too as it was December 1st. The official count down to Christmas has begun! The boys can finally open those advent calendars an amazing thirteen year old neighborhood boy (AKA their version of the coolest person, ever) dropped off for them.
And we can eat red and green soup.
Lasagna soup is more like it. Sounds a bit more appealing that way.
A big comforting bowl filled with fire roasted tomatoes, garlic, fresh green herbs, italian sausage and noodles topped off with a three cheese bubbly mess. It was exactly what the doctor ordered for the West Palm to O’Hare jolt, as we like to call it.
Homemade garlic bread dunked right in the bowl? Hey, home sweet home isn’t all that bad at all.
- 2 tsp olive oil
- 1 1/2 lbs. Italian sausage, crumbled up
- 1 c. chopped onions
- 1 zucchini, chopped up
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tsp fresh oregano
- 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
- 2 T. tomato paste
- 1 14 oz can fire roasted diced tomatoes
- 1 14 oz can diced tomatoes
- 2 fresh bay leaves
- 6 c. chicken stock
- 8 oz. broken up lasagna noodles or fusilli pasta
- 1/2 c. finely chopped fresh basil leaves
- salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 8 oz. ricotta cheese
- 1/2 c. grated parmesan cheese
- 1/4 t. salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- handful shredded mozzarella cheese
- Heat oil in a large soup pot over medium heat.
- Add in the sausage and cook until browned, roughly 10 minutes or so.
- Add in the onions and zucchini and cook another 5 minutes.
- Stir in the garlic, oregano, and red pepper flakes and cook an additional minute. Season with salt & pepper. Stir in the tomato paste and cook another minute or so.
- In goes the diced tomatoes, chicken stock, and bay leaves. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, make the cheese topping by mixing ingredients together. Make the pasta according to package directions and add to the soup along with the basil.
- Ladle soup into deep bowls, (slice of garlic bread optional), top with ricotta cheese mixture and sprinkle mozzarella on top. Enjoy!