Sunday, July 7, 2013

Toscana Soup (Like Olive Garden Zuppa Toscana)

We like soup as a light supper, even in the summer. Serve with a loaf of crusty bread and a green salad and you have a nice summery meal that can be mostly done ahead and won't bog you down.

One of our favorites to eat (and one of my favorites to make-- it's good and pretty simple) is a recipe adapted from Top Secret Restaurant Recipes by Todd Wilbur. There are a whole series of these cookbooks, which aim to replicate dishes that are popular choices in everyone's favorite chain restaurants. They aren't the ACTUAL recipes, mind you, just Todd and his staff's attempts to copy the flavors at home. And they do a really good job, especially with this soup. I modified the recipe a little, and I usually double* most of the ingredients to have left-overs, but I won't here. It should serve two as written.

3 cups chicken broth (I use Imagine Organic Free Range Chicken Broth. If you have never used this, try it. It adds so much more flavor than regular chicken broth. It should be available in the natural foods section of your grocery store. If not, you can order it online from Or, better yet, make your own homemade broth and freeze it for quick recipes like this.)
1/4 cup heavy cream.
2 small or 1 large russet potatoes
2 cups chopped kale (chop small)
1/2 pound spicy Italian sausage (sweet or hot as you prefer)
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

Grill or sauté the sausage until cooked through. Set aside until cool enough to handle.

Combine broth and cream in a large saucepan (or if you're doubling, a soup pot.) Put on medium heat.

Slice the unpeeled potato into 1/4 in thick slices, then cut the slices into halves or quarters (depending on the size of your potatoes in the first place. You want a generous potato piece in your spoon of soup.)

Add the kale.

Slice the cooled sausage on an angle into 1/4 inch thick slices and add to the soup.

Add the salt and hot pepper flakes. Reduce heat to medium low and allow to simmer for about 2 hours, stirring when you think of it, until the potato slices are tender.

*When I "double" the recipe I keep the amount of sausage the same. (I think we all consume more meat at a meal than we really need. I then use 3 potatoes and 3 cups of kale, but double the stock, cream, salt and hot pepper flakes.

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