Zuppa Toscana has been my favorite soup at Olive Garden since my very first visit to that restaurant when I got the soup, salad, & breadsticks lunch with a friend. I love the creamy sausage-laden broth with chunks of potato and peppery pieces of kale. Kale is so awesome in soups because it holds up without wilting, even the next day. And I have to say that having kale in it just justifies the rest of the not-as-healthful ingredients in my mind. Right?
I’ll admit this version has more bacon than Olive Gardens…I actually think I might like it even better. I mean, what’s not to love about more bacon?!
Everyone in our house loved this soup except Little Diner, who took his obligatory one bite and was done with it. Way too many dinners are like that with him these days…someday he’ll grow out of it, right? Right now he turns up his nose at almost anything with lots of ingredients together….casseroles, soups, many pasta sauces, etc…..pretty much everything. Oh, and onions, potatoes, corn, peppers, eggs, and on and on…are all on his “do not like” list right now. My two older kids will eat almost everything now. Anyway, Little Diner’s ratings are being intentionally left out for most foods for now. For the rest of us, we loved it and think you will, too!
- 4 slices bacon, diced, a little reserved for garnish
- 1 pound spicy Italian sausage
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- ½ onion, diced
- 4 cups chicken broth
- 3 russet potatoes, diced
- 3 cups kale, chopped into large bite-size pieces (it will shrink when it cooks)
- 1½ cups heavy cream
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Cook bacon over medium heat in a large skillet until crispy. Remove to a paper towel-lined plate to drain.
- Brown sausage in the remaining bacon fat until lightly browned. Remove to a paper towel-lined plate to drain, reserving drippings.
- Transfer 1 tablespoon of reserved sausage drippings to a large stockpot or Dutch oven and heat over medium heat. Add garlic and onion, cooking until onion is translucent. Stir in chicken broth and bring to a boil. Add potatoes and cook until tender, about 10 minutes.
- Stir in sausage and kale and continue to stir until kale wilts a bit, about one minute.
- Add heavy cream and stir until heated through, about 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
- Serve garnished with bacon.
Average Fork Rating: 3.9
Mr. Diner: 3.5
Mrs. Diner: 4.5
Amazing Diner: 3.5
Sweet Diner: 4