Friday, October 11, 2013

"Olive Garden's" Zuppa Toscana Soup

A bowl of warm comfort on a chilly fall day!

Copy Cat Recipe "Olive Gardens Zuppa Toscana"

Well I don't know about you, but I just love Olive Garden's Zuppa Toscana Soup, it is one of me and my daughter Jessy's favorites!  We love to go to the Olive Garden for lunch and get the endless soup, salad and bread sticks, and needless to say we leave there feeling much too full for comfort!  If you plan to do this on a shopping day, it is always a good idea to get all your shopping done first, because the thought of walking the mall after eating all that delicious yummyness probably is a good idea but a long nap usually wins out!  

This summer my daughter found a recipe for a "copy cat" recipe and tried it out, and it was to die for!  She made it several times at friends requests (her Dad and I are always willing taste testers when she is trying something new).  Unfortunately she is away at school right now and had a real strong craving for it, so I decided to give it a try for myself.  I thought it would be a delicious treat for me and my hubby on a crisp autumn afternoon after working in the yard raking leaves.  After scouring the internet I found several recipes and after my own tweaking made a pot of warm yummy deliciousness! I hope you enjoy it as much as we did!  If you give this recipe a try, please be sure to let me know what you think!

1 pound Italian sausage (I used the hot)
2 cloves garlic, minced (I used mined garlic in a jar)
2 extra large russet potatoes (I used about 5 med)
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cans chicken broth (I made my own with chicken stock paste)
4 cups of water
3 handfuls of Kale
1 cup heavy whipping cream ( I used fat free half & half)
dash of crushed red pepper
salt & pepper to taste

Cut up the Italian sausage into little pieces ( I love using my kitchen scissors for sausage because it is so sticky) and brown them in a drizzle of olive oil in your soup pan.  When the sausage is almost brown, add the chopped onion and garlic and saute until tender.  Drain a little fat from the pan (there was way to much fat left from the olive oil and sausage and I like to cut fat wherever I can!) 

Add your chicken broth and water and cook on low.  (instead of buying cans of broth I use a chicken stock paste and make my own, it is very flavorful and more economical.  I buy this product at Costco, Sam's Club or Gordon Food Service).   

Scrub the outside of the potatoes in the sink, quarter them lengthwise and then make thin slices, add to the soup mixture in the pot.  

Stir in salt, pepper and some crushed red pepper to taste   If you like things a little hotter then spice it up by adding more red pepper!  

Cook for about 30 minutes or until the potatoes are tender.  Add in the kale and a cup of heavy whipping cream (I substituted fat free half and half, it made is nice and creamy without adding all that fat, I think you would be hard pressed to tell the difference but your waistline will definitely thank you!). Make Sure to add the kale and cream last and do not boil, that way your kale will keep its pretty green color and your cream will not curdle! 

Simmer slowly for about another 15 minutes!

Serve with some warm crusty bread!  


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