Surprise those at the table with a variation on the familiar medley of flavors and textures.
It’s been a long six months. Now that it’s over, I feel like it should be celebrated, and what better way to say goodbye to winter than over a bowl of soup?
The idea of soup for dinner is often met with mixed emotions in my house. My family likes soup, but after a full year of recipe testing for my cookbook “300 Sensational Soups,” their enthusiasm began to wane.
Toward the end of writing the book, I began to run out of ideas. On one particularly uninspired day, I went to the grocery store with my son Kyle, who was then 8 years old. I figured I’d see some ingredient that would spark an insight into a possible recipe. Nothing came to mind. Finally, I turned to my son and said “What kind of soup do you think sounds good for dinner?” He replied, “I don’t want soup. I’m tired of soup. How about lasagna?” And so lasagna soup was born.
While it may not have been exactly what Kyle had in mind, he loved it even better than the baked noodle version of this classic Italian dish. The base of the soup is packed with flavorful sausage, tomatoes, garlic and herbs. Noodles are added and the soup is ladled over a generous dollop of ricotta, Parmesan and mozzarella cheese. The hot soup melts the cheese, giving the diner a delightfully gooey lasagna-like experience in every spoonful.
In this recipe, I cook the noodles in the soup itself. I’ve learned though, if you’re making soup ahead, or plan on having lots of leftovers, it pays to cook the noodles separately and add them to your soup bowls just before you’re ready to eat. Doing this one extra step avoids opening up, or thawing, leftovers and finding mushy noodles that have absorbed all the broth. The same is true for soups with rice or grains that will continue to absorb moisture.
I know it’s tempting to put away all vestiges of winter, but before the soup pot gets packed away, give it a proper farewell with Lasagna Soup. Your family will be happy you did.
Meredith Deeds of Edina is the author of “Everyday to Entertaining” and “The Big Book of Appetizers.” Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @meredithdeeds.