When Meredith Deeds was working on her cookbook "300 Sensational Soups," her son, Kyle, came up with the idea of turning his favorite meal, lasagna, into a soup. The tomato-y broth, brimming with sausage and pasta, melts the mix of cheeses placed in each bowl before serving. A quick swirl of the spoon ensures diners will get a bit of gooey cheese in every bite.
In a large pot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the sausage and sauté, breaking it up into small pieces with a wooden spoon, until the sausage is no longer pink, about 5 to 7 minutes. Drain any excess fat from the pot. Add the onions and sauté until softened, about 6 minutes. Add the garlic, oregano, and red pepper flakes and sauté for 1 minute. Add the tomato paste and sauté until the paste turns a rusty brown, about 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes with their juice, the broth, and the bay leaves and bring the soup to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for about 30 minutes.
Add the pasta, then increase the heat to medium-high and boil the soup until the pasta is tender to the bite, following the time recommendations on the pasta package. Discard the bay leaves, then stir in the basil. If desired, season with salt and black pepper to taste.
In a small bowl, combine the ricotta, the Parmesan, the 1/4 teaspoon of salt, and the pinch of pepper. To serve, place about 1 1/2 tablespoons of the ricotta mixture in each bowl, sprinkle with some of the mozzarella, and ladle the soup on top. Makes about 13 cups.
Per serving (1 cup): Calories 264 • Total Fat 11 g • Saturated Fat 5g • Cholesterol 38 mg • Sodium 1162 mg • Total Carbohydrate 22 g • Fiber 1g • Sugars 5g • Protein 19 g