Total cost: NY $23.24
Cost per serving: NY $2.90
So one of the things that drives me crazy about expensive shaped pastas like manicotti, shells and even curly-edge lasagna noodles is how I invariably end up with broken noodles in the package, no matter how carefully I carry them home from the store. The other thing that drives me crazy about these shapes is that there always seems to be a 2 or 3 noodle mismatch between what I get in a package and what the recipe calls for, leaving me with a whole box in the cabinet to house one lonely manicotti noodle, sadly wondering where all his friends ran off to. And that is precious real estate in my NYC kitchen that I cannot afford to squander.
Solution? Save up all your broken or orphaned pasta pieces until you have about 2 cups worth, then make lasagna soup. If you get impatient before you have a enough, you can use any leftover pasta shape or even, if you must, pulverize a couple of whole lasagna noodles from a full box. As long as all your pieces are of approximately the same size, the cooking time will work out. You want to aim for the size of the broken bits to be about the size of penne or rotini, which, not coincidentally, is the shape we would recommend if you don’t have enough leftover smashed pasta. (You’ll notice we didn’t have quite enough ourselves, so used some rotini from the back of the cupboard that wasn’t, on its own, quite enough for a full plate of pasta.)
Once you taste this, I think you’ll see why one might decide to jump the gun and sacrifice some whole shells for this soup. The broth is tomatoey and warming, the noodles toothsome, and the cool herb ricotta topping contrasts beautifully with the heat from the sausage and peppers. Go on and stir the ricotta in to the soup if the spirit so moves you. For those of you who care about such things, you'll note that the calorie count is quite low for a dish that is rich, meaty and creamy all at the same time.
- 1 tbsp olive oil (staple)
- 1 pound uncooked Italian turkey sausage (NY $5.79)
- 1 onion (NY $0.79)
- 1 green pepper (NY $0.99)
- ½ pound mushrooms (NY $1.89)
- 3 cloves garlic (NY $0.25)
- 4 cups beef broth (NY $2.89)
- 1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes (NY $1.39)
- 1 14.5 oz can crushed tomatoes (NY $1.19)
- 2 tbsp tomato paste (staple)
- 1 10 oz. package frozen spinach, defrosted and drained (NY $1.49)
- 1 tbsp oregano (staple)
- ½ tsp red pepper flakes (staple)
- ½ tsp dried basil (staple)
- ½ tsp dried thyme (staple)
- Pepper to taste (staple)
- 2 cups mixed broken lasagna/manicotti/shell pasta (staple or NY $0.89 for box of penne)
- 2 tbsp grated parmesan (staple)
- 1 15 oz container part-skim ricotta (NY $2.89)
- 1/2 bunch (about 6 stems) fresh basil (NY $2.79 for whole bunch)
Dice the onion and pepper, mince the garlic, and chop the mushrooms into eighths.
Remove sausage from casing by cutting a slit in the skin vertically and then peeling back and off the casing. Heat olive oil in a large soup pot over medium heat, then crumble in the sausage meat. Cook until browned, about 5 minutes.
Stir chopped veggies into the pot, and continue cooking until softened, onions slightly translucent and mushrooms release juices, about another 5 minutes.
Add broth, diced tomatoes, crushed tomatoes, tomato paste and spinach, and raise heat to high. Add spices and bring to a boil. While soup is coming to a boil, taste to check your seasoning. Be sure to actually bite into a piece of sausage when tasting, as sausage can hold a lot of spice that doesn’t carry over into broth. Once boiling, add pasta and cook until al dente, approximately 8-10 minutes depending on type of noodles. Meanwhile, chop basil and stir into ricotta along with the parmesan. Serve soup in bowls topped with generous dollops of basil ricotta crème.
Amount Per Serving
|Calories 299.7||Vitamin A 77.1 %||Iron 18.3 %|
|Total Fat 12.6 g||Vitamin B-12 3.0 %||Magnesium 14.9 %|
|Cholesterol 54.8 mg||Vitamin B-6 11.4 %||Manganese 23.4 %|
|Sodium 1,102.5 mg||Vitamin C 75.4 %||Niacin 10.5 %|
|Potassium 764.0 mg||Vitamin D 5.3 %||Phosphorus 29.0 %|
|Total Carbohydrate 27.3 g||Vitamin E 7.5 %||Riboflavin 22.8 %|
|Fiber 4.2 g||Calcium 25.6 %||Selenium 18.3 %|
|Sugars 7.3 g||Copper 20.0 %||Thiamin 14.8 %|
|Protein 20.4 g||Folate 22.4 %||Zinc 17.0 %|