Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Zuppa Toscana

I had been meaning to try this recipe for years and I finally got around to it. It's a copy cat recipe of the Zuppa Toscana at Olive Garden and I actually think it's super close to the restaurant version. It's delicious!! Score! The recipe is from Jamie Cooks It Up, but I've seen it on tons of other sites as well. What sets this recipe apart is that it makes 10 servings, which is what I need for my family of 6 and it's super good. I've never gotten a recipe from Jamie Cooks It Up that I haven't loved. I served the soup with these amazing Olive Garden-like bread sticks and my family loved it. I loved that they happily ate kale. Nice.

Zuppa Toscana

1 lb bulk Italian sausage
dash of red pepper flakes
5 strips of bacon
1 large onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
8 cups chicken stock
2 cups water
2 large russet potatoes, peeled or unpeeled, sliced thin
1 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon onion salt
1/2 tablespoon chicken bouillon granules
1 cup frozen chopped kale (or 2 cups fresh kale, chopped)
salt and pepper to taste

In a large soup pot, brown the Italian sausage, breaking up as it cooks, until cooked through. Remove cooked sausage to a large bowl and cover with foil. Set aside.

Microwave strips of bacon just until partially cooked (this makes it easier to cut up). Pour fat from plate bacon was cooked on into the soup pot. Cut up the bacon into small pieces, scissors work great for this.

Add onions and bacon pieces to the soup pot and cook until onions are softened. Add garlic and cook for a minute. Add chicken stock and water and bring to a boil.

Meanwhile, peel the potatoes if desired (Olive Garden leaves the skins on, but I like the skins off in soups) and cut into quarters lengthwise, then slice thinly the other way so you have thin triangular shaped potatoes. After soup on stove has come to a boil add the potatoes into the soup. Bring to a boil again, turn down heat to medium, and let simmer until potatoes are cooked through, about 10 minutes.

Add heavy cream, onion salt, chicken bouillon granules, frozen chopped kale (or fresh kale if using), and browned sausage. Heat through and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve with fresh ground pepper and shredded Parmesan on individual servings. YUM!

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