Growing up, Sunday’s were the one day of the week when my family got together for dinner at my grandparent’s. Sometimes my grandfather barbecued or my grandmother made some grotesque-looking German dish, but it was always comfort food that the whole family enjoyed. The grandkids got older and like all older people, my grandparents enjoyed having less company around so Sunday dinner’s eventually came to an end.
For 2017, I thought I would at least attempt to reinstate Sunday Suppers where my husband and I get together over a comforting (sometimes) home cooked meal with either my parents or his. I am realistic enough to accept that we won’t be able to get together every Sunday and of those of us who handle the main cookie duties will actually feel like cooking.
On New Year’s day, while my husband might have been nursing a hangover (rookies, I swear) I went for the throat: lasagna soup. If you’ve been around here enough, you know my husband absolutely lives for his mother’s lasagna. It’s the sure-shot way she gets us over to her house for dinner. That also means that even if I follow her recipe to a “T,” he hates it because it’s not made by his mother so I have to improvise my own cravings to turn them into things he’ll eat and won’t complain about.
One mouthful of this soup and you'll be craving a mouthwatering glass of Sangiovese. his day and age, there are so many fantastic producers making selecting a bottle a lot less difficult than in the past. You can choose a bottle from Tuscany or California and find out which style you prefer.
2 cups stemmed fresh spinach
1/2pound fusilli pasta
1/2 pound spicy sausage sausage
5 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
salt and freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 small yellow onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
4 cups chicken broth
1 can diced fire-roasted tomatoes
2 tablespoon tomato paste
1 cup ricotta
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella
Preheat an oven to 375°.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the spinach and cook just until the leaves wilt, about 1 minute. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the spinach to a colander, drain well and let cool on paper towels. Return the pot of water to a boil over high heat. Add the fusilli and cook according to the package directions. Drain well in a colander, rinse under cold water and drain again. Transfer the pasta to a large bowl. Set aside.
Using the paper towels, wrap up the spinach and squeeze out all the excess water. Chop the spinach and transfer to a bowl. Remove the sausage casings. Add the sausage and 2 Tbs. of the Parmesan to the bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Using your hands, mix together until combined. Form the sausage mixture into meatballs of about 1 tsp. each, arranging them in a single layer on an oiled baking sheet as you work. Repeat until all the meatballs are formed. Bake until cooked through, 12 to 15 minutes. Set aside.
In a heavy saucepan over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add the onion and sauté until translucent, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté until softened, about 1 minute longer. Stir in the chicken broth, tomatoes with their juices, and tomato paste. Raise the heat to medium-high and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer until the broth thickens, about 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add the meatballs and pasta and cook just until warmed through, about 2 minutes. In a small bowl, stir together the ricotta, mozzarella and the remaining 3 Tbs. Parmesan. Stir in the basil and season with pepper.