1 pound ground mild Italian sausage
1 small-medium onion, chopped
2 Tbsp minced garlic
2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes (scant)
1 can tomato sauce
2 bay leaves
1 tsp crushed basil
1 14-oz can diced tomatoes
6 cups chicken stock
8 oz (half a package) small pasta (not precooked)
8 oz Ricotta cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 tsp salt
pinch of pepper
Sprinkle over soup and topping:
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
Heat a stock pot over med-high heat and add 2 Tbsp olive oil. Heat for a minute then add the onion and saute until soft. Add garlic and crumble the ground beef, cooking until no longer pink. Drain. Return meat to the pot and add tomato sauce, oregano, red pepper flakes and stir until well incorporated. Cook for about five minutes.
Add chicken stock, bay leaves and diced tomatoes. Bring to a boil and simmer for 20-30 minutes. Add uncooked pasta and cook to al dente. Do not overcook or let the soup simmer at this point as the pasta will get mushy.
As the pasta is cooking prepare the cheese topping. Mix all ingredients, except mozzarella, together and set aside.
To serve, ladle soup into bowls, add a dollop of cheese topping and sprinkle mozzarella on top.