1 ½t.olive oilI didn't use any oil because I found the sausage had enough fat
1lb.bulk Italian sausage or ground beef
1 ½onionsfinely chopped
¼t.red pepper flakes
1small can tomato paste
3cans diced tomatoes
2-3cans chicken broth
12oz.corkscrew or shell pasta
6oz.ricotta cheeseor cottage cheese blended until smooth
1 ½c.shredded mozzarella cheese
In a large pot heat the oil over medium heat. Saute the sausage and onions, breaking it up into small pieces, about 5-7 minutes. Drain any excess grease from the pot. Add the garlic, pepper, salt, oregano, and red pepper flakes and sauté for 1 minute. Add the tomato paste and saute the paste until the paste turns a rusty brown-about 5 minutes.
Add the tomatoes with their juices, the broth and the bay leaves, bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about 30 minutes. Add the pasta, then increase the heat to medium and boil until pasta is tender. Discard the bay leaf, then stir in the basil and season with salt & pepper. In a small bowl combine the ricotta cheese, Parmesan. To serve place about 1 ½ T. of the cheese mixture in the bottom of a bowl, sprinkle with some mozzarella cheese and ladle the soup on top. Serves 6.
**If you are in a hurry, this soup would be great without the ricotta mixture in the bowl. Just add a little more Parmesan and mozzarella cheese on top of the soup and you will be set!