Thursday, September 6, 2012

Zuppa Toscana

If you've every been to The Olive Garden and ordered the soup, you know what this is. You also know that it is awesomeness incarnate. And while I'm not going to claim that it's health incarnate (sausage, bacon, potatoes, cream), it does pack a mighty kale punch. And a good dose of kale can cover a multitude of sins. At least I convince myself of that every time I eat this soup.

Zuppa Toscana Knock Off
Serves 4-6
Prep time:10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Cost: $3.15
sausage: 2.00. bacon: .40, onion: .10, cream: .50, kale: .15

1 1/2 C spicy (or not so much) sausage
2 medium potatoes, cut into 1/2 inch cubes (we use red potatoes)
3/4 C onion, diced small
6 slices of bacon (you can totally get away with 2-3)
1 1/2 tsp minced garlic (2-3 cloves)
2-4 C kale leaves, cut into inch pieces
1 quart water
1/2 C heavy cream, or a bit more if you're feeling lucky
4 tsp chicken bouillon granules or Better than Bouillon

Note: You can sub chicken broth for the water and bouillon if you've got it.
Note: You can peel the potatoes or not. Olive Garden leaves the skins on.
Note: You'll notice a wide range in the kale amounts. I like kale. I usually add a bunch, but I think the more authentic recipe would use the lower amount of kale.
Note: I use 2-3 strips of bacon. I love the flavor it imparts, but don't much love bacon in soups. It's pretty good the first day, but I notice as the days go by that it gets kind of chewy and blah.
One last note: Leave that bacon fat in there folks. It adds a lot of flavor. If you are looking to lower your cholesterol, then simply omit all ingredients in this soup except kale and water. Thank you.

Cook sausage until it's no longer pink. Remove from skillet. Cook bacon and onion over medium heat. Take bacon out when it's crisp and keep cooking onion longer if it's not tender yet. Add garlic and cook a minute until it's fragrant. Add water, potatoes and chicken bouillon. (Note: If you've got tough or thick or extremely curly kale, put it in the pot here; if it's young and tender you can add it later.) Cook about 15 minutes or until potatoes are soft.

In the meantime, crumble your bacon.

When potatoes are soft, add bacon, sausage, cream, and kale (if it hasn't already been added).

Simmer 4 minutes and serve.



  1. I often make Zuppa Toscana at home and I like it much better than Olive Garden's. I don't bother to cube the potatoes though. If they are small I just half them lengthwise and slice them. Quick and easy. And I add lots of kale, because kale is amazing. Happy Friday!

    1. I have to agree that the homemade stuff it totally better. In fact, I first had this homemade by a friend and that's how I fell in love with it. It was only a couple years later that I actually went to the Olive Garden and ate it (though I definitely liked it there too).



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