In the past, a Richmond, Virginia woman would go to Olive Garden just for the Zuppa Toscana soup. One day she had a craving for it, so she researched and found that it is really easy to make.
There are not too many ingredients so it would be cost effective to make it and have several meals rather than purchasing the take-out soup that costs about $6 for one serving from Olive Garden.
Ingredients (8 servings)
1 pound Italian sausage
2-3 large Russet potatoes
16 oz. heavy whipping cream
1/4 bunch kale
4 garlic cloves or minced garlic
6 slices bacon or 4 Tbsp. bacon bits
16 oz. chicken broth or 5 cubes of chicken bouillon
1 quart water
salt and black pepper
red pepper (optional)
- Sauté Italian sausage in a large skillet. Drain excess fat. Set aside while you prepare other ingredients.
- Sauté bacon, onions and garlic over low-medium heat for approximately 15 mins. or until the onions are soft.
- Add chicken broth or bouillon and water to a large pot and heat until it starts to boil.
- Add the sliced potatoes and cook until soft, about half an hour.
- Add the heavy cream and just cook until thoroughly heated.
- Mix in the ground Italian sausage.
- Add kale during the last 2 minutes of cooking.
- Many people buy Italian sausage links and then cut them up. It is convenient to buy the ground sausage.
- If you like hot spicy foods, then use hot Italian sausage. If you are preparing the dish for someone who doesn’t like spicy food, then don’t use the hot sausage.
- Also, if you know someone doesn’t like hot spicy food, do not mix in the crushed red pepper. Instead, add to individual servings for those who want the spicy dish.
- Use slices of bacon or bacon bits. If you use slices of bacon, it is best to cut the slices into bite-size pieces.
- Wash the Russet potatoes thoroughly, but do not peel them. Slice them. If it is a big potato, you might want to cut the potato slice in half. Since the potatoes are to be cooked about 30 minutes to become tender, it is acceptable to put the slices in a bowl in the microwave to cook faster. Then mix them in the pot.
This was the first time this writer made Zuppa Toscana soup, and she is convinced that it tastes better than Olive Garden’s soup. She deliberately made it much thicker than the popular soup in the Italian restaurant. Therefore, she will continue to make her own.
View the slideshow to see the ingredients and each step of the making of Zuppa Toscana soup. Eat with garlic bread sticks and enjoy!