1/2 lbs. Italian sausage (I used breakfast sausage because I already had it!)
1/2 large chopped onion
1/2 cup mushrooms chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
2 T. tomato paste
1 28-oz. can fire roasted diced tomatoes
6 c. chicken stock (I used 5 and 1 cup water)
8 oz. mafalda or fusilli pasta (whatever pasta you have will work, whole wheat is best!)
1/2 c. finely chopped fresh basil leaves (I used dried basil)
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
2 c. shredded mozzarella cheese
Brown sausage, breaking up into bite sized pieces, and add onions and cook until softened, about 6 minutes. Add mushrooms, garlic, oregano, 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 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. Stir in basil and season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper. At this point I just started tasting the broth and added more seasoning to our taste. I also added a few teaspoons of sugar to sweeten it as well.
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.