FOR THE SOUP:
2 tsp. olive oil
1-1/2 lbs. Italian sausage
3 c. chopped onions
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
2 T. tomato paste
1 28-oz. can fire roasted diced tomatoes for heat or regular diced tomatoes will work also
2 bay leaves
6 c. chicken stock
8 oz. mafalda or fusilli pasta or pasta of your choice
salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
FOR THE CHEESY YUM:
8 oz. 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 sausage, breaking up into bite sized pieces, and brown for about 5 minutes. Add onions and cook until softened, about 6 minutes. Add garlic, oregano, and red pepper flakes(if using). 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. While soup is simmering, boil water for the noodles, cooking them al dente. Right before serving, stir in salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.
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 and add some noodles.