One of the restaurants I miss is Olive Garden. I learned long ago that some things are worth the time and effort to recreate, like their signature soup.
I don’t remember where I originally found this recipe, but it has been in my little wooden recipe box for years.
Zuppa Toscana (Yield: 6-8 servings)
1 (8 oz) pre-cooked sausage (smoked or hot), chopped into bite-sized pieces
2 Tablespoons butter
3/4 cup onion, chopped
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
4 red potatoes, chopped
2 cups kale, roughly chopped
4-6 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled (optional)
1 quart water
2 cups chicken broth
1/3 cup heavy cream
1/4 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
a couple dashes of hot sauce)
salt and pepper to taste
1) In a large pot, melt the butter and saute onions and garlic.
2) Add chicken broth, water, and potatoes. Bring to a simmer and cook until potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes.
3) Add remaining ingredients and simmer until heated through and kale is completely wilted and darker green, between 5-10 minutes.
Serve with your favorite bread product!
Traditionally I think the soup uses a pork sausage, but I use turkey or chicken.
Reduce cooking time even more by pre-cooking the potatoes in the microwave or using leftover baked potatoes.
For times when I didn’t have sausage, I have cooked up to 1 pound of ground turkey instead with fine results.
If you like thicker soups, reduce the water by 1-2 cups.