Friday, April 29, 2011

Zuppa Toscana

Everyone has at least one guilty-pleasure chain restaurant, and mine is Olive Garden.  Our whole family would sometimes go for Ohana (our sanctioned immediate-family-only time whenever we're all in town), and as much as we liked the food we LOVED the soup, salad, and breadsticks that come before the meal.  So bourgeois, I know, but we didn't care.  I'm surprised we ordered entrees.

I realized that it wasn't hard to make our favorite soup, so for a family gathering I tried out this recipe for Zuppa Toscana.  I substituted kale for spinach (just like OG) and didn't use a full cup of cream.  I just started pouring and mixing and stopped when it looked about right. 

Word of warning: don't skimp on the ingredients.  I made it without bacon once and totally regretted it. I've yet to find a good breadstick recipe that can be consumed with the soup, so if I ever find one I'll post it.

Thanks to souporsweets for posting this on Allrecipes!  My extended family thanks you, too. 

Zuppa Toscana


  • 1 pound bulk mild Italian sausage
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes
  • 4 slices bacon, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 5 (13.75 ounce) cans chicken broth
  • 6 potato, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 bunch fresh spinach, tough stems removed


  1. Cook the Italian sausage and red pepper flakes in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat until crumbly, browned, and no longer pink, 10 to 15 minutes. Drain and set aside.
  2. Cook the bacon in the same Dutch oven over medium heat until crisp, about 10 minutes. Drain, leaving a few tablespoons of drippings with the bacon in the bottom of the Dutch oven. Stir in the onions and garlic; cook until onions are soft and translucent, about 5 minutes.
  3. Pour the chicken broth into the Dutch oven with the bacon and onion mixture; bring to a boil over high heat. Add the potatoes, and boil until fork tender, about 20 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium and stir in the heavy cream and the cooked sausage; heat through. Mix the spinach into the soup just before serving.

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