Monday, January 16, 2012

Zuppa Toscana

So I know that for a foodie, admitting that I love Olive Garden is pretty bad. But I can't help it.  I don't love it all, but I do love some of their dishes.  You get a lot of food with a decent price and I always end up with lunch the next day.  And let me tell you, I hate when you get a cream sauce dish and bring it home and the next day, the cream has separated from the oil.  It's sooo gross. Olive Garden's cream sauces don't do that, so it makes me feel a lot less grossed out about cream sauces.  Thankfully, we don't go there often, mainly b/c the food is not healthy at all!  The Mixed Grill isn't too bad, sans the sauce.  W/out the sauce it is justmeat, squash and potatoes.  Not too unhealthy :)

Anyways, one of my sweetie pies favorite soups is Zuppa Toscana.  I was anti soup there, mainly b/c I loved the salad and b/c I never bothered to try them.  But then I had a soupful of his soup one day and I was hooked.  It is sooooo good.  Really.  Yumm.

So I set out to find a good recipe to make it at home.  I wanted a heartier version, with more kale and meat.  I found this recipe on The Pastry Affair and I knew this was the one I would try. 

Try it, you'll like it!!!

Zuppa Toscana
adapted from The Pastry Affair

1 1/2 lbs of hot Italian sausage
1 tsp paprika
2 tsp crushed red pepper
1 large white onion, fine diced
4 cloves garlic, mashed
10 cups chicken stock
5 medium Russet potatoes, sliced into disks
1 cup heavy cream
Couple of bunches of kale, torn into bite sized pieces, I used about 10 big leaves all together. 
Salt and Pepper to taste


In a large pot, saute the ground sausage, paprika and crushed red pepper ujntil the meat is browned, Drain excess fat and remove from the pot.  Set aside.
Use some of the fat to saute the onion and garlic until softened, about 10 minutes.  Add chicken stock and bring to a boil.
Add the sliced potatoes, cover and simmer until the potatoes are tender.  It took about 45-60 mins.  Add the
cream, kale and sausage and cook until heated thoroughly.

Serve hot with some crusty Italian bread, or garlic bread sticks. 

To make really easy garlic breadsticks, purchase plain half baked breadsticks (we find them at the Wonder Bread outlet).  Melt salted butter and add a few shakes of garlic powder to the butter.  Brush the melted butter onto the breadsticks before baking.  Shake a little extra garlic powder onto the top.  Bake as directed on the package.  Serve warm. 


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