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A&E >  Food

Spinach lasagna soup is a bowl of goodness you’ll want to make again and again

Spinach lasagna soup embodies the satisfying flavors and textures of lasagna, a reliably crowd-pleasing dish.  (Tom McCorkle/For the Washington Post)
Spinach lasagna soup embodies the satisfying flavors and textures of lasagna, a reliably crowd-pleasing dish. (Tom McCorkle/For the Washington Post)
By Ellie Krieger Special to the Washington Post

A pot of hot soup is a sustaining pillar of my home cooking most of the year. Having a batch of it in my refrigerator, ready to be rewarmed as a meal in a bowl or a snack in a mug, provides not only a calming sense of stability but also a tangible well of nourishment.

Experimenting with different soups is (arguably pathetically) my idea of fun, so I am often simmering something new. But there are also soups I make again and again – the most requested ones that, over time, have earned the coveted title of Family Favorite.

Make room at the top because this recipe is destined to join those in the position of honor. Everyone who has tried it has gone crazy for it. I’m not entirely surprised because it embodies the satisfying flavors and textures of lasagna, a reliably crowd-pleasing dish.

The soup’s tomato-y broth wafts with garlic, oregano and basil. Italian-style poultry sausage flavors it further and offers meaty bites throughout, while lasagna noodles, broken up into the pot to cook until al dente, give hearty substance. Fresh spinach tossed in at the end of cooking provides dashes of emerald color and vegetable nutrition.

Served with a contrasting dollop of cool, creamy ricotta and a sprinkle of Parmesan and fresh basil, it’s an alluring bowl of goodness that I know will be on permanent repeat.

Spinach Lasagna Soup

1 tablespoon olive oil

8 ounces sweet Italian-style chicken sausage, casings removed (see note)

1 medium yellow onion, diced

3 cloves garlic, minced or finely grated

2 tablespoons tomato paste

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1 teaspoon dried basil

½ teaspoon fine sea or table salt

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

4 cups low-sodium chicken broth

One (15-ounce) can no-salt-added crushed tomatoes

1 cup water

4 ounces lasagna sheets, broken into pieces (about 5 noodles)

3 cups lightly packed fresh spinach leaves, coarsely chopped

⅓ cup ricotta cheese (part-skim or whole)

¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese

¼ cup fresh basil leaves, cut into ribbons

In a large, heavy soup pot over medium-high heat, heat the oil until shimmering. Add the sausage and onion and cook, stirring frequently and breaking up the sausage with the spoon as it cooks, until the onion has softened and the sausage is browned, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until aromatic, about 30 seconds, then stir in the tomato paste, oregano, basil, salt and pepper.

Add the broth, crushed tomatoes and water (swirl it around the empty tomato can to get all the tomato flavor out) and bring to a boil. Add the lasagna noodles, then reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the noodles are al dente and the soup has reduced slightly, about 15 minutes. Stir in the spinach and remove from the heat.

Ladle the soup into bowls and top each portion with a dollop of ricotta, then sprinkle with the Parmesan and basil, and serve.

Note: If you cannot find chicken sausage that has easily removable casings – typically sold at the butcher’s counter in the supermarket – you can purchase a packaged chicken sausage, such as Applegate brand, and slice them into medallions. Follow the searing directions above, but don’t worry about breaking the medallions into pieces.

Storage notes: Leftover soup can be refrigerated for up to three days.

Yield: 4 servings (makes 8 cups)

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