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!
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
- 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
- Set your Crock Pot on Low for an 8-10 hour cook time, High for a 4-5 hour cook time.
- 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.
- 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.
- Add the garlic and saute for one more minute. Add the Flour to make a thickening roux. Stir continuously for 5 minutes.
- Move the sausage, Onion mixture to the crock pot. Add the Chicken stock and Heavy Cream and stir to mix.
- Add the Potatoes, stir to mix and cover and heat for 4 hours (on high) or 8 hours (on low).
- 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
- 10 minutes before serving, add the cheese and now stir to combine everything. Heat until the cheese has melted.
- Serve up a big heaping hearty bowl. garnish with Bacon and Green Onions...
- Serve HOT and ENJOY!
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!
And of course... This is a MUST MAKE recipe for my new Page that eventually will be a guide to Italian Cooking (worth following). I will try to research the history, Italian name for the dish and most of all the authenticity (going to be hard not to monkey about with the recipes, but I at least promise to try).
52 Authentic Italian Recipes".
And if you think you might want to give this soup a try yourself (very easy), please take a minute and "Pin" it to your Pinterest Boards. And if you want to see more of my Soup Recipes, feel free to join the fun and Follow me...