First left me briefly preface this by saying if you know absolutely anything about me it's that I do not lie. Which perfectly segways me into this point. I made this Zuppa Toscana copycat recipe for a couple reasons that which include but are not limited to it's more cost efficient at home, I actually know what's in it at home, and I don't have to venture out of my warm fuzzy place in the frozen tundra that is winter. So I made this last night (obviously my favorite soup from Olive Garden), and my husband and I were blown away. I mean me not so much I know I'm a badass in the kitchen, however I still surprised myself... a little. I went to bed, and slap me down if I'm a liar but I dreamt about it. DREAMT ABOUT IT. Behold below is the recipe as detailed as I could make it for accuracy so that when you make it taste exactly like what I am eating as I type this. This soup comes together very quickly in under an hour, and leaves lots of leftovers! It is a little off blog topic for me, but with many requests for the recipe I threw in an exception;) I piggy backed off a recipe I found on Pinterest but I changed up a few things, and given some important trial and error notes. You know to make it perfect.
1QT (4 cups) of water
1 Cup heavy whipping cream
1 LB Johnsonville HOT Italian Sausage (my pack was slightly over a lb this is fine). NOTE: Use the hot NOT mild. The hot sausage will bring the soup flavor and it will not be hot.
4 Strips of bacon
2 Cloves of garlic OR 1 1/2 Tablespoons of minced garlic (I used pre-minced)
4 Cups of FRESH chopped kale with stems removed (only use leaves)
3 Large russet potatoes thoroughly washed with the skins on cut in 1/2 then in 1/4 inch slices
1 Large onion chopped finely (not sweet, or red just a plain ol' onion)
2 14.5 Ounce cans of chicken broth (I used the brand College Inn)
Salt and Pepper to taste NOTE: Wait until the very end to season
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: Roughly 50 mins
In a large pot combine onions, chicken broth, garlic, potatoes and water. Bring to a boil.
While waiting for the soup to boil, in two separate pans cook the bacon thoroughly (Not crispy it can have some crisp, but make sure it mostly stays "flappy"), and the sausage thoroughly.
Once boiling, reduce to medium heat to a light boil until potatoes are about 90% done. This should take about 20 - 25 mins once it boils.
Remove the bacon from the pan, once cooled slice it in half vertically and then horizontally. Then add it to the soup. TIP: If your potatoes are thoroughly cooked at this point don't worry don't throw the baby out with the bath water, simply turn off and remove the soup from the heat completely, and continue with the following steps.
Remove the sausage from the pan and place onto paper towels. NOTE: DON'T SLACK ON THIS STEP. Soak up as much of the oil from the sausage as possible.You just may go through quite a few paper towels. There will be some oil left. But you want to get 95% of it. Failure to complete will cause your soup to be a red oily mess. Once sausage is thoroughly degreased add it to the soup.
After adding the sausage and bacon to the soup. Let them hang out and flavor the soup on low heat (or none if the potatoes are cooked) for 10 - 15 mins.
Add the heavy whipping cream, and kale. Stir. Then kick up the heat to medium high (even if potatoes are cooked. Then let it cook for 10 - 15 mins. Until kale is cooked but not crispy.
In about the last 5 minutes of cooking then season with salt and pepper. As this soup cooks it takes on flavor of the bacon and sausage both already salty. You want to wait until the last minute to season it, as it had taken the flavor from the meats. It's very easy to over season this soup.
ENJOY! You will be left with the most delicious, hearty but light soup ever.
- Reliably yours till blog do us part