Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Zuppa Toscana... Tuscan Soup Better than the Olive Garden Version


One of the great mysteries in my life... Why are there always LONG lines waiting for tables at the Olive Garden Restaurants?

Ah well, at the least the place does provide inspiration for serving up something special.  And this soup is special, instantly became one of my very favorites.  This is an Italian Sausage based Potato soup, LOADED up with so much, it might qualify as a stew.  And shredded up bits of Kale added at the end of the cook provides vibrant colors for a beautiful presentation while adding a hearty healthy "Superfood" to the pot!


I saw this soup posted on the "Jamie Cooks it Up" Blog (click the blue letters to see her version... probably a little more authentic to the Olive Garden version).  I did a little Internet search and found several slightly different versions.

But primarily, as I said, this is a Sausage soup... So be sure to get some top quality Italian seasoned sausage.  Thin sliced potatoes add bulk and the base is chicken stock, thickened with cream.

i am not sure where the line is drawn between a soup and a stew.  Usually in a stew the thin sliced potatoes would be chunkier and the sausage would be sliced thicker with a casing.  So I will not try to say STEW, but I made a big change in all of the copy cat recipes of the Olive Garden soup and cut the liquid in half.

Personal tastes and all that... I was in the mood for a hearty filling stew like soup.  If the word wasn't taken, I would call it a stoop... Half Stew, Half Soup...

I also adapted to make this in a crock pot, although there is a bit of slicing and dicing cooking that takes place in the last 10 minutes before it is ready to serve.  One more big addition to my adaptation is a quarter cup of shredded Parmesan Reggiano Cheese.

But I digress....


Here's what I did...


Zuppa Toscana... Tuscan Soup


Ingredients
  • 1 Pound Italian Sausage
  • 1 tsp Red Pepper Flakes
  • 1 Large Sweet Onion, Diced
  • 4 Cloves Garlic, Minced
  • 2 TBS Flour
  • 4 Cups Chicken Stock
  • 1 Cup Heavy Cream
  • 4 Small Russet Potatoes, Sliced thin
  • 2 Cups Kale, Remove the hard center rib, Chopped small pieces with a few large to fish out for a garnish on the top as you serve a bowl
  • 1/4 Cup Parmesan Reggiano Cheese
  • 4 stalks Green onions, sliced, white and green parts for garnish
  • 4 Slices Thick Cut Bacon, diced for garnish
Cooking Directions
  1. Set your Crock Pot on Low for an 8-10 hour cook time, High for a 4-5 hour cook time.
  2. In a large frying pan, brown but do not over cook a pound of Italian Sausage, combined with the Red Pepper Flakes. All you want to do is render out the fat. The sausage will cook all day, so do not cook until well done.
  3. Remove the sausage from the pan and add the onion to the HOT pork fat rendered from the sausage. Saute until the onions are soft and are turning translucent.
  4. Add the garlic and saute for one more minute.  Add the Flour to make a thickening roux.  Stir continuously for 5 minutes.
  5. Move the sausage, Onion mixture to the crock pot. Add the Chicken stock and Heavy Cream and stir to mix.
  6. Add the Potatoes, stir to mix and cover and heat for 4 hours (on high) or 8 hours (on low).
  7. One hour before you are to serve, Chop the kale and add to the crock pot, just on top, do not mix. This will wilt and steam the kale, retaining it's bite! Recover
  8. 10 minutes before serving, add the cheese and now stir to combine everything. Heat until the cheese has melted.
  9. Serve up a big heaping hearty bowl. garnish with Bacon and Green Onions...
  10. Serve HOT and ENJOY!
This is a DELICIOUS, very filling soup.

Love all of the colors and the heartiness of the mix

Come back tomorrow and I will tell you of the little sandwiches I served with this (Kale and cheese Pinwheels) that were very easy and paired perfectly!

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So,  I am pleased to list this as one of my Growing list of  "52 Recipes for Soup, Chili or Chowder" (Now more than 52 and still growing)

Soup from Scratch is one of the great kitchen joys.  The house smells amazing and the soup warms to the bone.  From broth to chowder, vegetarian to loaded up chili... Even a great idea for a party (love the Potato Soup Bar idea).  Come take a look, sure to have something you might like to try.  All recipes have been tested and WORK!

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So,  I am pleased to list this as one of my Growing list of  "52 Authentic Italian Recipes"!!!

Well over 52 recipes actually as I just can't stop. The world's most popular cuisine, authentic, natural, organic, Farm to Table... the Italians started, perfected or embraced it before it became a fad. This page is a guide to Italian Cooking... For the home cook!  So, Cin Cin (toast) and Buon Appetito (Enjoy your Meal) to you all and let's Cook authentic Italian!

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1 comment:

  1. I actually had a dish at Olive Garden years ago that I REALLY really liked. It was gorgonzola beef and executed flawlessly. I would have been happy getting that at a Ruth's Chris, Morton's, etc.

    Your soup looks and sounds hearty.

    ReplyDelete

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