For the soup:
2 tsp. olive oil
1 lb. lean ground beef (5% fat)
3 large mushrooms (used what we had leftover but would be happy with more!)
1.5 chopped onions (could use up to 3 depending on size)
6 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp. dried basil
2 T. tomato paste
2 400 gram cans diced tomatoes
2 bay leaves (I used fresh thyme instead)
4 cups chicken stock
350 grams tomato passata
8 oz. fiorelli or fusilli pasta
1/2 c. finely chopped fresh basil leaves
salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
For the cheesy yum:
250 grams ricotta
1/2 c. grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 tsp. salt
pinch of freshly ground pepper
additional cheesy yum:
2 c. shredded mozzarella cheese
Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add beef, breaking up into bite sized pieces, and brown for about 5 minutes. Add mushrooms and onions and cook until softened, about 6 minutes. Add garlic, oregano, dried basil, and red pepper flakes. Cook for 1 minute. Add tomato paste and stir well to incorporate. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes, or until the tomato paste turns a rusty brown color.
Add diced tomatoes, bay leaves, and chicken stock. Stir to combine. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Add uncooked pasta and cook until al dente. Do not over cook or let soup simmer for a long period of time at this point, as the pasta will get mushy and absorb all the soup broth. You may even want to consider cooking the noodles separately, and then adding some to individual bowls before ladling the soup over them. This would be an especially smart move if you are anticipating any leftovers. Right before serving, stir in the basil and season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
While the pasta is cooking, prepare the cheesy yum. In a small bowl, combine the ricotta, Parmesan, salt, and pepper.
To serve, place a dollop of the cheesy yum in each soup bowl, sprinkle some of the mozzarella on top and ladle the hot soup over the cheese.
Recipe adapted from: