Lasagna Soup

Soup...hmmm... a wonderful way to keep warm.

What could be better than a soup that tastes just like Lasagna?  It takes a fraction of the time to make than its famous counterpart… packed with fabulous flavors… even picky eaters will love it…. So why not try it? …. I guarantee you won’t be sorry!
I do have some tips to help you…
I use extremely lean ground beef so you don’t have to drain off excess fat…. I recommend you buy the leanest ground beef you can find.
I love Hunt’s canned tomatoes.. they come in many varieties… all will work well… I personally like the Basil Garlic and Oregano variety…
If you don’t have fresh garlic.. you can substitute garlic powder… another option is using the Fire Roasted Garlic variety of Hunt’s tomatoes.. they have a nice potent garlic flavor.
Since the recipe calls for 2 cans of tomatoes… you can also mix the different varieties.
Hunt’s also makes canned tomato sauce in flavors.. and as with the canned tomatoes… pick and choose your varieties… it’s all good.. just use what you prefer.
The recipe calls for 2-3 cups of dried pasta (I prefer Rotini… but any will work)… even break up lasagna noodles… they all will be fine.
DO NOT be tempted to increase the amount of dried pasta… you will end up with a casserole… the pasta sucks up all the wet liquid… trust me.. been there done that.  It’s not a totally bad thing, mind you… it’s just not soup anymore.
A word about garlic and garlic powder… they lose there umphf over time.. always use the quantities listed as a guide.. if you have super fresh garlic or garlic powder use less at first and add more to taste… likewise.. if your garlic has been around a while.. use the quantities listed then adjust to taste.
I make a mixture of ricotta cheese with herbs and other cheeses… this is totally optional but highly recommended… it’s absolutely delicious!
Use a big soup pot to make this… it seems to need “space” to cook… much like homemade pasta sauce.
The last step of sprinkling shredded mozzarella and placing in a hot oven or under the broiler is also optional but highly recommended.
This serves approximately 8.
I served this with garlic bread and a salad.. it makes a fabulous supper… leftovers are divine!

Recipe:  Lasagna Soup
All you need:
For the Soup:
1 pound super lean ground beef
½ - 1 tablespoon Italian Seasoning
1 medium onion, finely diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 cans Hunt’s canned tomatoes (Basil Garlic and Oregano variety…see TIPS)
1 can (15 oz) Hunt’s Tomato Sauce *see TIPS
1 carton (32 oz) chicken broth
2-3 cups dried pasta
¼ cup grated parmesan
For the Ricotta Mixture:
1 container (15 oz) ricotta cheese (whole milk or part-skim)
¼ cup grated parmesan
¼ cup shredded 6 cheese Italian cheese
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon chopped fresh parsley
¼ teaspoon Italian seasoning
For the Topping:
Shredded mozzarella cheese
All you need to do:
In a large pot, brown the ground beef over medium high heat.  Sprinkle with the Italian seasoning. 
Break the meat up into bite size pieces as it browns.  When the meat is almost browned, add the garlic and onions, stirring to thoroughly mix.  If you meat rendered little or no fat, add about a tablespoon of olive oil and cook for about 3 minutes until the onions begin to soften.
Add the canned tomatoes, tomato sauce and chicken broth.  Bring to a boil over medium high heat then reduce the heat and cook at a low simmer for about 20 minutes.
Add the dried pasta and cook for about 10 minutes or until pasta is soft.
Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine the ricotta mixture ingredients.
Preheat oven to 450 or heat broiler.
When soup and dried pasta are cooked, add a dollop of ricotta mixture into oven safe bowls.
Add the soup into the bowls and sprinkle with a generous amount of mozzarella cheese.
Place bowls in the oven and bake or broil until cheese is melted and lightly browned and soup is bubbly.
Serve with garlic bread.

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