For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows grace and favor and glory - honor, splendor and heavenly bliss! No good thing will He withhold from those who walk uprightly.

Psalms 84:11

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Zuppa Toscana Soup

You know that wonderful potato and sausage soup they serve at Olive Garden? Oh, it's so creamy and decedant, with a nice bit of spice to keep you coming back for more. Well, I could tell you where I got this recipe folks but then I'd probably be tracked down by the big wigs at Olive Garden corporate. But lets just say, it's out there, it's available, if my Grandma who doesn't own a computer tells me about it then it's pretty clear that EVERYONE has heard of it. Not that she DID tell me about it... wouldn't wanna get granny into any trouble!

So lets get down to business, shall we?

First you put 1 qt. of water and 2 14.5 oz. cans of chicken broth into a pot.

I forgot to do action shots of me pouring the chicken broth, but if you REALLY need picture instructions for that then please... STEP AWAY FROM THE STOVE! lol

Sorry, I'm getting a little punchy... it's late... bare with me. :P

Then you scrub 2 large potatoes and cut them up into chunks. I forgot to take a pic of me cutting potatoes. I was just getting SO excited about eating Zuppa Toscana Soup that I couldn't WAIT to get those potatoes into the pot! Here's what they look like, I left the skins on because that's how Olive Garden does it. I suppose it makes the soup seem more rustic or something.

Maybe that's how the Italians do it.

Then I chopped 1 onion. And then I was a mess of tears and snot for a few minutes, it was a STRONG onion! In the midst of my sniffles Hubby asked, "Oh, do you want me to chop an onion for you?" "Kinda late for that honey!" I then tossed the onion into the pot along with 1 tsp. of garlic. If you're a really good chef you'll use 2 fresh cloves instead. I'm sure it would taste better that way.

Then I went to work on the sausages. I bought a pack of raw Italian Turkey Sausage, it was in large links. I really wish they had it in bulk, but I was trying to be healthy... sort of. :) The recipe I received called for just normal Italian pork sausage, but I really didn't notice any difference in flavor when it was finished. Oh, and I'm getting good and removing sausage from casings. Especially after I made 2 batches of this for Christmas.

While I was removing casings and browning sausage I started to boil the soup. And oh man was it starting to smell good!

And mmmmmm MMM! Was that sausage lookin' and smellin' good too!

Once it was thoroughly cooked I added the sausage to the soup with a slotted spoon. I wiped the grease out of my skillet and started on the next level of flavor...

BACON!!! Oh Baby... ooooooh baby! I used about a 1/2 pound altogether. Just what I had left over in the fridge from Christmas... yup, I'm still working on those left over ingredients.

There's a whole bunch of odd people on the internet who are totally in LOVE with bacon. If you don't believe me check this out... but don't say I didn't warn you.

So since it was going into soup, and not my Hubby's mouth, I decided to cook it extra crispy. When it was done I let it cool then crumbled it into the soup.

Then I brought out the Kale. Kale is a highly underrated veggie if you ask me. Just look at it! It's absolutely resplendent.

For those who don't know what to do to prepare kale, you wash it off, and then take it like this:

You see that think stalk in the middle? You want to cut that out. It's tough and not to be eaten.

Then once that's outta there you just give it a rough chop. Then set it to the side for a minute.

And get out your heavy cream! Yup, this is how much I have in my house right now. I'm nearly ready to start using it in my morning coffee. Please save me! If you have any ideas of what I can do with it besides pouring it down the sink (or slathering it all over my bod) please let me know!!! Does whipping cream freeze? I'm guessing no.

Sigh. In any case, pour yourself a cup of it and dump it into the soup.

And then you can throw that kale in there too. Mix it on in.

It's a pretty tough veggie despite it's flowery appearance. So don't be afraid that you'll hurt it or something.

There now! Isn't it GORGEOUS! Even Hubby decided he could give some a try after seeing how pretty and harmless it was. But secretly... it was the bacon that attracted him. :) He can't fool me.

Aaaaaahhh... now there's a comforting soup good enough for company! It's somewhat healthy too, with all that kale and turkey sausage. And you didn't have to wait for a table or pay $5 a bowl either! For a low-carb alternative you could use califlower instead of potatoes and you probably wouldn't even notice the difference.

Zuppa Toscana Soup (like Olive Garden's, except better because YOU made it!)

Serves 12 (I plan to eat it for lunch for the next few days)

1 lbs. spicy Italian sausage
1/2 lbs. smoked bacon chopped
1 qt. water
2 14.5 oz. cans chicken broth
2 large russet potatoes (or cauliflower for low-carb option)
2 garlic cloves (or 1 tsp. of the stuff in the jar)
1 medium onion - chopped
2 cups chopped kale OR swiss chard
1 cup heavy whipping cream
salt & pepper to taste (I didn't use any, but feel free)

-In a skillet over medium-high heat, brown sausage, breaking into small pieces as you fry it; drain, set aside.
-In a skellet over medium-high heat, brown bacon; drain, set aside.
-Place water, broth potatoes, garlic, and onion in a pot; simmer over medium heat until potatoes are tender. (Or until you're done with the above mentioned steps.. sorry, I hate following directions.)
-Add sausage and bacon to pot; simmer for 10 minutes.
-Add kale and cream to pot; season with salt & pepper; heat through.


JulieD&TraviD said...

amazing!! I cant wait to make this!!! Thanks Amy!

JulieD&TraviD said...

amazing Amy! I cant wait to try it!

Phil said...

I'm not one for cooking and such... but that's pretty cool you have the recipe for this. I have had this soup at O.G., and it is indeed VERY good. I usually get a couple refills, almost expanding myself to looney balooney proportions.

Phil said...

Oh, and by the way, your instructions and illustrations are fantastic. It is a very professionally produced "tutorial". Well done. I'd say it's "Steller"... but well, that's my name. Let's just say it's "Mekelburg".

MommyAmy said...

LOL, thanks Phil! I'm going to try to keep putting my little tutorials out there. They're a lot of fun to make! :)

I think my next one will be my famous Paprika Chicken.

Phil Steller said...

Dudette! Thanks again for posting this. Guess what? Someone at work suggested having a soup and bread day. Turns out that's today. I was trying to decide if I would try to make something. I'm somewhat known as that bachelor guy who doesn't have a clue what he's doing when it comes to food (generally true).

My first thought was to email my mom to get her recipe for a simple but good potato and corn chowder. I was totally going to do that, but my mom didn't respond very quickly. While I was waiting for her response I suddenly remembered this blog entry! WHY? Because I've been to Olive Garden several times and if I have soup, I always choose this one. I remember it as being one of the best soups I've had.

So I decided to go for it. I printed out your blog entry in color. I rode my bike to Winco last night and bought everything necessary per your ingredients list. I somehow got all the groceries home on my bike. I made the soup per your instructions, and it looks, smells and tastes just like the Olive Garden stuff! mmmmm... I think my coworkers will be surprised later today!

Oh, and I somehow managed to ride my bike while carrying a huge pot of soup in one arm, believe it or not!

Thanks again!

God bless

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