Looking for a cozy, hearty soup that’s easy enough for a weeknight? Italian Sausage and Pasta Soup is here for it. A spoonful of ricotta adds rich creaminess to this soup that’s like lasagna in a bowl.
The seasons are changing (at last!). Bring on all the crisp leaves, warm mugs of cider, and break out all the coziest of sweaters. To round out those cooler days and kick off the chilly nights, nothing fits quite so well as a simmering pot of fragrant soup on the stove. If your weather is still hot, it's a great time for corn chowder. But if it's getting cool, this is the soup for you.
This soup is the easier, much faster (!), still completely delicious cousin of classic lasagna. Like my other favorite creamy tomato and pasta soup, this one starts with browned Italian sausage and gets a big boost of flavor from garlic, shallots, dried thyme, and a bright tomato broth.
Top it off with your favorite pasta shape and a dollop of fresh ricotta cheese. The ricotta gives it just the right amount of creaminess. It’s a cozy classic that feels like something special.
What You’ll Love About Italian Sausage and Pasta Soup
This soup is begging to be added to the weeknight rotation. Basically an upgraded version of tomato soup, it’s sure to please almost everyone at your dinner table. As a bonus, it uses mostly pantry staples - just pick up Italian sausage, ricotta, and some fresh basil or parsley and you’re ready to go.
This soup is:
- Make-Ahead Friendly
- Gluten-Free Adaptable
- Vegetarian Adaptable
Why Cook Pasta Separately from Soup
It can be tempting to skip the extra stockpot and stir uncooked pasta right into the soup, but cooking the pasta on its own has several advantages. First, it means you can cook the pasta just until it's done to your liking and keep it that way. Once pasta is in the hot broth, it will continue to cook, so it can become overdone and too soft as the soup sits on the stove (or in any leftovers you want to save for later). The other key issue is that the pasta will release starch into the soup which may change the texture of the tomato broth, making it too thick or starchy tasting.
In addition to preserving the texture of the noodles and the broth, Emily Laperruque over at Food52 also makes the case that you should cook the noodles separately so that you can season the pasta water generously enough to give the noodles flavor. Don’t forget to season your pasta water!
Make it Ahead / Freeze it
Make ahead: To make this soup ahead, prepare as directed, keeping the soup base and the pasta separate. When ready to serve, reheat both the base and the pasta. Combine them right before serving.
To freeze: To freeze this soup, make the soup base as directed. Allow it to cool completely before storing in an airtight container. Freeze for up to 4 months. Defrost in the refrigerator completely before reheating on the stovetop or in the microwave. Wait to boil the pasta and add it to the soup just before serving.
- Whole Tomatoes Packed in Juice - These add the most tomato-y flavor to the soup base. You’ll strain the tomatoes, but don’t forget to save the juice - both the tomatoes and juice go into the soup.
- Italian Sausage - Use spicy or mild, depending on your spice preference.
- Shallots and Garlic - It’s best with both of these aromatics which add layers of flavor and smell fantastic while they cook.
- Stock / Broth - A store-bought vegetable or chicken stock works well as the base of the soup, but even better if you have some homemade to use.
- Pasta - I’ve made this soup with just about any pasta shape and they’re all great. Use broken up lasagna noodles for a real lasagna feel or just use up a partial bag of pasta you have in the pantry. (It would be great with the most famous pasta shape of the moment - Cascatelli.)
- Dried Thyme - If you have fresh thyme, it would work great as well.
- Ricotta - Don’t skip this creamy finish - it really makes the soup special.
- Parmesan Cheese and Fresh Basil / Parsley - These fresh toppings add something special to the soup when added on top right before serving but you can skip them in a pinch.
- Olive Oil, Brown Sugar, Red Wine Vinegar, Salt and Pepper - Pantry staples that add flavor.
- Use lasagna noodles: Want to really highlight the nod to lasagna in this “lasagna soup”? Use lasagna noodles. Just break them up a bit and boil them according to package directions.
- Make it gluten-free: Grab your favorite gluten-free pasta shape to use in the soup.
- Make it vegetarian: This soup is great with your favorite vegan / vegetarian sausage alternative. Use soyrizo for a spicy kick. Be sure to grab a flavorful vegetarian stock for the base of the soup. Skip the parmesan cheese or use a plant-based alternative.
Other Similar Meals / Serving Suggestions
- Tomato Soup with Chickpeas and Pasta
- Butternut Squash Soup with Turmeric and Ginger
- Instant Pot Potato Leek Soup
- Simple Chicken Noodle Soup with Miso
- 20-Minute Smoky Tomato Soup with Pasta and Chickpeas
- Garlic Bread Hawaiian Rolls
- Italian House Salad with Parmesan and Croutons
- Cuisinart Stockpot with Strainer
- Dutch Oven or Saute Pan
- Slotted Spoon
- Immersion or Standing Blender
Italian Sausage and Pasta Soup with Ricotta
- Dutch Oven or Saute Pan
- Immersion or Standing Blender
- 1 (28 ounce) can Whole Tomatoes Packed in Juice
- 4 ounces Pasta, any fun shape (use gluten-free if needed)
- 2 Tablespoon Olive Oil
- 8 ounces Italian Sausage
- ¼ cup diced Shallots
- 2 cloves Garlic, minced
- ½ teaspoon Dried Thyme
- 3 cups Vegetable or Chicken Stock
- 2 teaspoons Brown Sugar
- 1 teaspoon Red Wine Vinegar
- Salt and Black Pepper
- ½ cup Ricotta Cheese
- Parmesan cheese, for topping (optional)
- Fresh Basil or Flat-Leaf Parsley, chopped, for topping (optional)
- Bring a stockpot of water to boil and cook pasta according to package directions. (See note.)
- Meanwhile, place a strainer over a bowl and pour tomatoes into strainer. Reserve the tomatoes and the liquid in the bowl.
- In a large Dutch oven or saute pan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add sausage and cook, breaking it apart, until browned, 6 to 8 minutes.
- Use a slotted spoon to remove cooked sausage and transfer it to a paper towel-lined plate. Leave Dutch oven over heat.
- To heated pan, add shallots, garlic, and dried thyme. Cook just until fragrant, 2 minutes.
- Add tomatoes (wait to add reserved juice) and cook, breaking the tomatoes apart into smaller pieces, until tomatoes are starting to brown and stick to the pan, 2 to 4 minutes.
- Stir in reserved tomato juice, stock, brown sugar, and vinegar.
- Stir sausage back into soup and bring to a low simmer. Simmer soup for 10 to 15 minutes to let flavors come together.
- Taste and season with some salt and pepper, if needed.
- Divide pasta between serving bowls. Ladle soup over top. Finish each bowl with a spoonful of ricotta. Top with parmesan and fresh herbs, if using. Enjoy!
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