Zuppa Toscano

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September is here, school has started, fall colors are showing up all over, and although our temperatures certainly don’t reflect it yet, I begin to think of Pumpkin Spice coffee, refresh my supply of cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg, and pull out our favorite soup recipes. The first time I had this soup, it was at a local Olive Garden, and in my opinion it remains as one of the best items on their menu.  There are many recipes for it to be found online and in various cookbooks, including one that claims to be the Olive Garden copycat recipe. which uses chicken bullion cubes and water.  I prefer my version, using herb seasoned chicken broth, and Tuscan Kale from our garden.

Zuppa Toscano

1 pound Italian Sausage (we like spicy, but use mild if you prefer)

4-6 Russet Potatoes chopped

1 large onion, chopped

1 Tablespoon red pepper flakes

4 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed before mincing

4 cups Chicken Broth

2 cups Tuscan Kale or ruffled kale, leaves stripped from tough center stem, then stacked and rough cut. If you like smaller pieces of the green, stack the leaves, roll them together and shred into thin strips

1 cup heavy whipping cream

Crumble sausage and brown in large soup pot or Dutch oven. Cook and stir until browned. Add chopped onions and garlic and cook until onion softens. Add chopped potatoes and red pepper flakes and stir to combine. Pour in chicken broth and cook until potatoes are fork tender, about 20 minutes.  Add kale and cook several minutes. Tuscan Kale has a thicker leaf, but if you use the ruffled kale generally found in supermarkets, cook for only a minute or so. Slowly add cream and cook until heated through. Serve with breadsticks or a loaf of peasant bread such as Ciabatto.

If you would like to make this using your slow cooker, here are the modified directions:

Brown sausage and add chicken broth, garlic, potatoes, red pepper, and onion in slow cooker.

Add chicken broth,covering the vegetables and meat.  Cook on high 3-4 hours (low 5-6 hours) until potatoes are soft.

Before serving, add kale to the pot, stir, cover, and cook on high for 30 minutes.  Add cream and continue heating for a few minutes until heated through.  Serve and enjoy!

2 thoughts on “Zuppa Toscano

  1. Hi Mary Ann . . . we recently ate at The Olive Garden and we had the All-You-Can-Eat Soup and Salad meal and that was one of the soups I had from their menu. I had no idea how much I would like it. Anyway, going to save this recipe, in particular, and share with a friend, too. sounds yummy!!! Plus, maybe you could suggest something other than the heavy whipping cream. I guess i could look it up . . . but then it sounds like you have lots of experience making it. I bet yours is even better than the Olive Garden’s Zuppa Toscana. THANKS!!!

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    • Sarai, I have used half and half rather than heavy cream. When I calculate how much heavy cream goes into a single serving, it is not a large amount per serving. But if you wanted to try, you could take some of the cooked potatoes, out, mash them and add to low fat milk That would help with thickening. Let me know if you try doing that.

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