Saturday, December 19, 2015

Italian Beef Casarecce Soup

You will not regret making this! It's easy to make, filling, easily adapted to what you have on hand, and the best part is it tastes like you're eating a bowl of lasagna. It comes together in about 30 minutes, and requires very little prep. An easy weeknight meal that's sure to impress.

Italian Beef Casarecce Soup
      serves 6

  • 1-1/2 lbs. lean ground beef, fully drained
  • 1 large white or yellow onion, diced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 quart low sodium chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 cup water
  • 4 tbsp tomato paste
  • 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes in puree
  • 6 ounces of pasta, I used casarecce because it's one of my favorites
  • 1/2 cup starchy cooking water
  • 1-1/2 tsp herbs de provence
  • 2 tsp dried basil
  • 2 tsp dried parsley
  • pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp granulated sugar
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • low fat ricotta cheese, to garnish
  • part-skim mozzarella cheese, to garnish

The list of ingredients looks long, but that's from the herbs and other ingredients like water and cooking water which you will have readily available. To start, in a large pot over medium heat add the beef, season to taste, and saute until fully cooked through. Remove from the pot, and drain all of the fat from the pot. Add the diced onion to the pot and cook over medium to medium-high heat until translucent, add the garlic and cook another minute, be sure to season to taste for this step as well. Add in the beef, chicken broth, water, tomato puree, crushed tomatoes, herbs, cayenne, black pepper, and sugar. Bring the mixture up to a low boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook covered for about 20 minutes. 

While the soup is simmering cook your pasta according to the package directions, but stop just a minute or two shy of al dente. My pasta directions said to cook in salted boiling water for 11 minutes, so just before my 10 minute timer went off I scooped out the pasta with a slotted spoon and added it to my soup. I also added in 1/2 a cup of the starchy cooking water. You may need more or less, depending on how thick or thin you want your soup. Be sure to taste for salt one last time before serving, mine needed another pinch of salt and black pepper.

I served this for my husband and myself, so I didn't need too much cheese to top our soup. In a ramekin I combined six tablespoons of ricotta cheese with a 1/4 cup of mozzarella cheese. I seasoned it with black pepper and dried basil, and stirred to combine. I topped our bowls of soup with a scoop of the cheese mixture and an extra sprinkling of parsley. The cheese will melt into the soup and become ooey gooey deliciouness. I hope you enjoy!

Per serving, one bowl of soup plus cheese topping: 417 calories, 37 grams of net carbohydrates, 38 grams of protein, 10 grams of fat.

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