Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Zuppa Toscana Recipe

I love Olive Garden.  Or more accurately, I love Zuppa Toscana!   Soup isn't generally one of my favorite foods but I have a couple types I like ... and this tops my list.  I've had this copycat recipe for several years (I'm so sorry ...can't remember where I got it to give proper credit).  It's perfect for the kind of cold, blustery day we're having in Wisconsin today!  Top it off with a sprinkle of freshly grated Parmesan cheese and serve it with freshly baked rolls.  Enjoy!!

Zuppa Toscana

1 pound hot Italian sausage
3 med red potatoes or 2 lg russet potatoes
3/4 cup chopped onion
6 slices bacon, diced
2 cloves (1 1/2 tsp) minced fresh garlic
2 cup Kale leaves, cut in half, then sliced in thin strips or chopped
2 16-oz cans chicken broth
1 qt water
1/3 cup heavy (whipping) cream

Bake sausage at 300 for about 30 minutes or brown gently on stovetop.  Drain on paper towels.  Cut into halves lengthwise, then into 1/4" slices or crumble if using bulk sausage.
Cut potatoes into half lengthwise, then into 1/4" slices.
Place onions and bacon in a large saucepan and cook over medium heat until onions are almost clear; some of the bacon will be starting to crisp.   Add garlic and cook for 1 minute.
Add chicken broth, water and potatoes and simmer for about 15 minutes or until potatoes are tender. 
Add sausage and kale;  simmer 4 minutes.
Add cream and heat through until kale is tender.  Serve hot. 

Cooks notes:
We prefer hot Italian sausage, but you may also use the sweet type.
If you are going to be short on time, cook the sausage and do the chopping ahead of time -- the soup actually cooks fairly quickly (as soup goes).   Serve with Tender Potato Rolls (which can be made a day ahead and baked at the last minute):