I think I've mentioned on here that I used to work at the Olive Garden. During my time there, I learned to loooove their Zuppa Toscana. Well, thanks to Google and the kindness of strangers, now I can enjoy it at home! (You can too by the way.)
How did it go? Here's the recipe with my notes/pictures...
* 1 lb ground Italian sausage
* 1½ tsp crushed red peppers
* 1 large diced white onion
* 4 Tbsp bacon pieces
* 2 tsp garlic puree
* 10 cups water
* 5 cubes of chicken bouillon
* 1 cup heavy cream
* 1 lb sliced Russet potatoes, or about 3 large potatoes
* ¼ of a bunch of kale
1. Sauté Italian sausage and crushed red pepper in a large pot. Drain excess fat, refrigerate while you prepare other ingredients.
I bought sweet pork Italian sausages from Trader Joe's. Removing the casing:
I used about 3 tsp of crushed red pepper (so twice as much) because I like a little spice. And spicey it was. So you could probably stick to 2 tsp and be fine.
Note: it will be awhile from the time you take the sausage off the heat until it is added to the soup. So best not to ignore the directions to put it in the refrigerator.
2. In the same pan, sauté bacon, onions and garlic over low-medium heat for approximately 15 mins. or until the onions are soft.
I used turkey bacon, because that's all I had. Also I added in some fresh thyme because I had a ton leftover from a different soup I made earlier in the week. I don't know if I added the correct amount of garlic - I just minced the cloves that were left from a mostly-used head of garlic. Probably could have done about five cloves and given it a good flavor.
3. Add chicken bouillon and water to the pot and heat until it starts to boil.
Note: while you wait, wash and chop the potatoes.
And cut the kale too. Actually it was easier to just rip off small pieces with my hand.
4. Add the sliced potatoes and cook until soft, about half an hour.
This picture looked a lot like the above on-the-stove picture. So instead I bring you this:
I thought it was appropriate that my handsoap was basil-scented. Since I was cooking Italian. PS I loooove the scent of this soap.
5. Add the heavy cream and just cook until thoroughly heated.
6. Stir in the sausage and the kale, let all heat through and serve.
Instead of adding the kale directly to the soup, I put it in my bowl and poured my soup over it. That way the kale stays fresh and bright green instead of being soft and wilty and darker green tomorrow when you have your leftovers.
It was really yummy. I bet tomorrow's leftovers will be even better!