Sunday, 10 February 2013

Lasagne soup

I love lasagne, but it's not something I usually have time to make after a full day at work... when I saw this lasagne soup on Sweet Basil, I knew I had to give it a try. Meaty, tomato-ey, and packed with chunks of melting mozzarella, this quick, no-fuss recipe is a great way of satisfying your craving without spending hours in the kitchen.

The concept is pretty simple - make a basic Bolognese sauce (beef mince, tomato passata, maybe some red wine), throw in some pasta (most recipes call for broken up sheets of lasagne - I didn't have any left, so I used fresh tortellini instead), and finish everything off with chunks of fresh mozzarella and a heavy dusting of Parmesan. Delicious.

My version is quite different from the original, and if you have your own tried-and-tested recipe for Bolognese, feel free to substitute it in to the recipe below.

Ingredients (makes two huge bowls, or four smaller ones)

1 lb of extra lean beef mince
700g tomato passata
2 garlic cloves, crushed
Handful of basil leaves, roughly shredded
1tbsp tomato puree
A few glugs of red wine
Hot water, to thin out the sauce
Salt and pepper to taste
Half a packet of fresh tortellini (OR a few sheets of dried lasagne, broken into pieces)
1 ball mozzarella cheese, cut into chunks
Parmesan and more basil leaves, to serve

Fry your mince in a large frying pan. Depending on the size of the pan, it may be best to do this in batches to allow the meat to brown properly. Meanwhile, add tomato passata, crushed garlic, basil leaves, tomato puree and red wine to a large saucepan, and bring to a simmer. Once browned, add your mince to the tomato sauce, and cook everything together on a medium-low heat for about 15 minutes.

Season your sauce with salt and pepper to taste, and add the tortellini. The sauce should be liquid enough to cover the pasta - if not, add some hot water to make it more 'soupy'. Leave everything to simmer for another 4 minutes or so (depending on the cooking instructions for the tortellini), before stirring in three quarters of your mozzarella cubes.

Divide the lasagne soup into bowls, and scatter with the remaining mozzarella, more shredded basil, and a good sprinkling of Parmesan cheese. Serve and enjoy!