Lasagna

30-Minute Lasagna Soup Is the Weeknight Wonder We've Been Looking For

Lasagna loses its layers but keeps its charm (and cheese).

March 13, 2019
Photo by Rocky Luten

If I'm being honest, I could probably eat lasagna every day. But, if I'm being honest, it’s definitely not something I want to make every day. First you’ve got to make a meat sauce, and a good meat sauce takes time. Then, boil pasta sheets and let them cool. After you’ve assembled the casserole, only after having to check the recipe a few times to make sure you were layering it correctly, you've got to bake for a while and when the bubbly dish emerges from the oven, it rests a little bit longer before you can dive in, Garfield-style.

Don’t get me wrong, lasagna is worth the effort. It’s a labor of love with a big payoff. But it’s hard to pass as a quick-and-easy Wednesday supper. So, how can lasagna be added into the weeknight rotation? By losing the layers. It’s still a whole lot of love but with a lot less labor.

Lasagna soup has been around for a bit. A quick Google search and you’ll find recipes from a few chefs, plenty of bloggers, and multiple publications. It’s got a few different names, too, like “lasagna stew” or “lazy lasagna.” Fast casual restaurant chain Hale and Hearty sells their version, called “Broken Lasagna Soup,” to hungry, soup-slurping New Yorkers during the lunch time rush.

I made a layer-less lasagna on the first really cold day of the year, riffing off of recipes I’d found on the internet. It was a hit. The second time I made it, shortly after having made the first, I took notes and made a few tweaks. This time, instead of boiling the noodles separately, I added them directly into the soup along with a little extra liquid. Without even realizing it I’d turn an already simple meal into an even simpler one-pot supper.

Breaking the noodles involves a little technique. To avoid projectile pasta pieces (you’d be surprised at how abruptly the noodles snap!) I use a tip I learned from a food stylist many years ago. Wrap the lasagna sheets in a kitchen towel and use the edge of the counter to break them. They snap a little bit more evenly, which is key to evenly cooked pasta, and more importantly, don't send sharp noodle shards flying across the kitchen.

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Top Comment:
“Nothing against the lasagna soup, which I imagine is tasty, but let's not make lasagna more work than it is... (Okay, okay, sometimes I actually make my own lasagna sheets, so I imagine that constitutes a layer of unnecessary work... but why boil water unless necessary...)”
— Jennifer
Comment

Even though this lasagna is less traditional than most, it does not skip out on the cheese (that would be blasphemous). Instead of cheesy layers, this lazy version gets topped with a ricotta cream, made with fresh ricotta, a splash of heavy cream, and plenty of grated parmesan cheese.

Once the soup is spooned into bowls and dolloped with creamy ricotta, it gets a little fresh parsley, some torn basil and, obviously, more parmesan cheese. Much like it’s layered counterpart, this dish is as enjoyable in a bowl as it is in a plate.

What's your favorite one-pot wonder? Tell us in the comments!

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A New Way to Dinner, co-authored by Food52's founders Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs, is an indispensable playbook for stress-free meal-planning (hint: cook foundational dishes on the weekend and mix and match ‘em through the week).

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4 Comments

Jennifer March 13, 2019
Hmmm. Do other people really boil their lasagna sheets before baking? I have access to fresh, non-gummy lasagna sheets, so I don't even think about it... But my (Irish) father taught me that even with dried lasagna noodles, it works perfectly well to bake without boiling first--the noodles are tender but firm. Would be curious to know what others do. Nothing against the lasagna soup, which I imagine is tasty, but let's not make lasagna more work than it is... (Okay, okay, sometimes I actually make my own lasagna sheets, so I imagine that constitutes a layer of unnecessary work... but why boil water unless necessary...)
 
boulangere March 13, 2019
I've been making lasagna soup for years. I start with my own marinara, usually left over from something else, and use oven-ready lasagna sheets, which break much more easily and with fewer projectiles, both of which bring it all together very quickly. I've never loaded it up with so much dairy because it's just too heavy that way. It's one of my favorite 15-minute, light, bright dinners.
 
Author Comment
Grant M. March 13, 2019
What a great use for leftover marinara! I'll have to remember that for next time. I haven't tried using the oven ready lasagna sheets. It sounds like they'd be a bit faster (and safer!) Haha.
 
boulangere March 13, 2019
I only discovered the oven-ready sheets when I had the remains of a box leftover, clearly in need of a home.