When I go to the Olive Garden I have a hard time choosing between soup and salad, but most of the time I go with soup. And that causes a headache too – which soup to get??? I absolutely love the Pasta e Fagioli and the Zuppa Toscana. I have found a recipe that replicates the Pasta e Fagioli that makes it taste even better than what you get at the restaurant but my mom found a recipe for the Zuppa Toscana. I didn’t think it would be so easy to make but it really was! So now I don’t have to choose, I can go to Olive Garden and get one or the other and make the other one at home! 🙂 I thought I would share this because I know I’m not the only one that loves this soup!
- 1 lb ground Italian sausage (I used the Johnsonville brand)
- 1½ tsp crushed red peppers (Use less if you don’t want it spicy)
- 1 large diced white onion
- 4 Tbsp bacon pieces (I like bacon so I put a whole package of thick bacon in it)
- 2 tsp garlic chopped or pureed
- 10 cups water
- 5 cubes of chicken bouillon
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 lb sliced Russet potatoes, or about 3 large potatoes (I used 4 large potatoes because I like more – slice in half and then slice into ¼” thick slices with skin on.)
- ¼ of a bunch of kale (I used 1 bunch of kale because I didn’t want any to go to waste – slice off the stem and then cut into chunks or tear apart.)
- Sauté Italian sausage and crushed red pepper in a large pot. Drain excess fat, set aside while you prepare other ingredients.
- In the same pan, sauté bacon, onions and garlic over low-medium heat for approximately 15 mins. or until the onions are soft. *Make sure to render the fat off the bacon, I would put the bacon in first and then add the onions and garlic after you start to render some of the fat off. I also read in another recipe to use real bacon bits instead.
- Add chicken bouillon and water to the pot and heat until it starts to boil.
- Add the sliced potatoes and cook until soft, about half an hour.
- Add the heavy cream and just cook until thoroughly heated.
- Stir in the sausage and the kale, let all heat through and serve.