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Zuppa Toscana Soup Recipe

It is so easy to make Zuppa Toscana soup like the one served at Olive Garden.

All photos in this article are by the author, Margaret Minnicks

Zuppa Toscana soup is popular at Olive Garden Restaurants. It is so delicious that customers usually request more than one bowl of it when they go to the popular Italian restaurant. Usually, the order comes with the opportunity to get refills.

Some people love it so much that they have taken the time to make it at home themselves, instead of going to Olive Garden every time they have a craving for Zuppa Toscana soup. Then they can eat as much as they want. 

Making the soup is much better for those who really love the dish and can't get enough of it. The preparation time is quick, and the process is extremely easy. Besides, enough soup is made for several days. If you and your family do not consume all of it at one meal, save the leftovers for another day, or freeze the soup for much later. 

It costs less to make the soup yourself rather than going to Olive Garden every time you want some. Besides, it costs less to make it at home. An individual bowl of the popular soup costs about $6 at Olive Garden. The recipe included in this articles makes eight servings. That means it would cost about $48 at the restaurant, but much less when you make it yourself. 

Ingredients

Make your own Zuppa Toscana soup at home by purchasing the ingredients shown above to make 8 servings.

  • 1 pound of Italian sausage
  • 2-3 large Russet potatoes
  • 1 large onion
  • 4 garlic cloves or minced garlic
  • 6 bacon slices or 4 tablespoons bacon bits
  • 16 oz. of chicken broth or 5 cubes of chicken bouillon
  • 1/4 bunch of kale
  • 1 quart of water
  • 16 ounces heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese 
  •  salt
  •  black pepper 
  •  red pepper optional

Cook the Italian sausage in a skillet.

Sauté Italian sausage in skillet. This takes about 5-7 minutes. After it is cooked, drain the excess fat. Set the cooked sausage aside while you prepare the other ingredients.

Cut bacon into small pieces and sauté them along with onions and garlic over low-medium heat until the bacon and onions are done. This takes about 8-10 minutes.

Bacon and onions sautéed

Add chicken broth or bouillon and water to a large pot, and heat until it starts to boil.

Sliced white potatoes with the peels

Cut white potatoes into slices. Cook them in a skillet until they are soft. That will take about 15-20 minutes. Add them to the pot of boiling water and broth. Add the heavy cream and mix in the ground Italian sausage.

Wash the kale thoroughly and break into small pieces. Add the broken pieces of kale during the last 2-5 minutes of cooking, because it doesn't take long for the vegetable become tender as it shrinks.  

Use salt and pepper to taste. Red pepper is optional if you love spicy foods. If you are preparing for others, you should not include the red pepper to the entire pot of soup. Instead, have it available for people to use it on their individual servings. Sprinkle shredded Parmesan cheese on top of your soup for an extra flavor.

The above video shows step-by-step how easy it is to make Zuppa Toscana soup.

Enjoy your freshly prepared Zuppa Toscana soup. Feel free to eat garlic bread or breadsticks along with the soup. Also, enjoy the delicious soup along with your favorite beverage.

Valuable Tips

Buy ground Italian sausage instead of the links. This will save you time from having to cut the links into small pieces. Besides, there will be no casing to remove from the links.  Italian sausage comes in hot and mild. Buy the hot Italian sausage if you like spicy foods. Be considerate if you are preparing the soup for others, because they might not like foods that are hot and spicy. The same rule goes for the optional red pepper.

If you use slices of bacon instead of bacon bits, it is better to cut the slices into bite-size pieces with scissors before the bacon is cooked. Then cook the pieces with the onions and garlic.

Make sure you wash the Russet potatoes thoroughly. Do not peel them. The peels add to the flavor of the soup. Cut the potatoes into individual slices. Cook the slices of potatoes before you add them to the soup.  If you want your soup to be a little thicker than usual, just mash some of the potatoes on the side of the pot.

Kale is the last ingredient you should put in the pot, because it doesn't take long to cook. Make sure you wash it thoroughly and remove the tough ribs. Chop or tear the leaves into small pieces. Do not shred the kale. Even though you are putting in a bunch, don't be alarmed when it shrinks. 

Eat a salad and enjoy with your soup. Here is a quick and easy recipe for a delicious and healthy Brussel sprout and kale salad like the one served at Cracker Barrel.

The bonus of making your own soup is that you will have enough left over for several more meals. Like a lot of other foods, the soup tastes better after it has been prepared in advance, because all the ingredients have a chance to blend. Each individual ingredient transforms from its own flavor into one combination. Also, the seasonings are enhanced after being in the dish longer.

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