Lasagna, when done right, is incredibly rewarding. Heck, even a middling version is pretty good. This soup embodies the rich, deep flavor of a good meat sauce and cheesy, layered filling—only in soup form.
Take time to cook the short ribs slowly. The melting collagen will give the soup depth, and low, slow heat encourages more tender results. Don't treat the noodles the same way though—they should be firm and al dente for textural contrast.
Feel free to make this soup ahead; the flavors will only improve. Just hold off on adding the ricotta topping until you're ready to serve.
- Yield:serves 6
- Active time: 30 minutes
- Total time:3 hours
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 pound boneless short ribs
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 pound hot or sweet Italian sausage, casings removed
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped (about 1 cup)
- 1 red bell pepper, finely chopped (about 1 cup)
- 3 medium cloves of garlic, minced (about 1 tablespoon
- 1 1/2 cups dry red wine
- 1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes with juice
- 6 cups homemade or store-bought low-sodium chicken stock
- 1 tablespoon dried Italian seasoning mix
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
- 2 bay leaves
- 4 sprigs fresh thyme
- 8 ounces dried ditalini or small fusilli pasta
- 1/2 cup ricotta cheese
- 1/3 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
- 1/4 cup shredded Asiago cheese
- 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese (About 5 ounces)
- 1 teaspoon grated zest from 1 lemon
Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and preheat oven to 300°F.
Heat oil over medium-high heat in a large, oven-safe stockpot or Dutch oven. Generously season short ribs with salt and pepper. When oil is shimmering, brown short ribs on all sides until golden brown, about 6 minutes total. Remove meat and transfer to a platter.
Add Italian sausage and brown, breaking up into little bits, until nearly cooked through, about 6 minutes. Add onions, bell pepper and garlic to pan and sauté, stirring periodically, until softened, 6 to 7 minutes. Return short ribs to pan. Add wine, tomatoes, chicken stock, Italian seasoning, crushed red pepper, bay leaves and thyme. Season with about 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper. Bring to a boil. Cover and transfer to oven to cook until meat is fork tender, about 2 1/2 hours.
Remove from oven and transfer pot to stovetop. Shred short ribs using two forks. Remove and discard bay leaves and thyme springs. Return to a boil over medium-high heat. Add pasta and cook according to package directions until still slightly firm. Meanwhile, combine ricotta, Parmesan, Asiago, mozzarella, and lemon zest in a medium bowl. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
Remove soup from heat. Taste and adjust seasoning, if needed. Spoon into individual bowls, top with a generous dollop of cheese mixture and serve immediately.