There are a lot of opinions out there about the chain restaurant called Olive Garden. Some love it, others hate it, and I am sure there are many in between those two extremes. One menu item I know is good, is their Zuppa Toscana.
The name translates to ‘Tuscan Soup’ and this is my version of the one you find at the Olive Garden Restaurant. This broth soup is only slightly creamy, so it is light but filling at the same time because of the potatoes and sausage. Lots of fresh kale for nutrition as well. I like to use russet potatoes in this recipe as they fall apart more when cooked than red-skinned potatoes, and thus adds to the wonderful texture of this soup.
This recipe is also featured in my latest cookbook Cooking Around the World with Chef Dez in the soups & stews chapter. I do hope you enjoy this. Now that we are in the autumn months, and cooler weather, soup just seems appropriate.
Zuppa Toscana (Tuscan Soup)
500g (or 1 pound) mild Italian Sausages
2 teaspoons fennel seed
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
2 large potatoes, unpeeled, scrubbed
6 cups chicken broth
3/4 cup whipping cream
4 cups chopped fresh kale
1.5 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 teaspoons white sugar
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
- Squeeze the sausage meat out of the casings and add to a soup pot. Add the fennel seed, basil, and red pepper flakes. Turn heat to medium and cook, while breaking the sausage apart with a spoon, until the sausage is fully cooked, approximately 8 to 10 minutes. Drain this mixture in a fine wire strainer to discard the fat. Set aside.
- Cut the unpeeled potatoes into quarters (lengthwise) and then slice into 1/4-inch pieces. Set aside.
- To the pot add the chicken broth/stock, whipping cream, potatoes, kale, salt, pepper, and the reserved cooked sausage pieces from step one. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, and then reduce the heat to maintain a simmer uncovered for approximately 20 to 30 minutes until the potato pieces are tender.
- Turn off the heat and finish with the sugar and lemon juice. Serve immediately.
Makes 9 cups