Sunday, March 13, 2011

Zuppa Toscana, OG style.

I love The Olive Garden's Zuppa Toscana. I've started always ordering the all you can eat soup, salad and bread sticks. I always eat 2 bowls of soup and sometimes I ask for a 3rd and then I waste it. I just don't want it to end.

It took me forever to figure out what the green leafy stuff is in it and I hate to ask because I don't want them to think I'm trying to steel their recipe, but then I remembered that the internet exists and I can find just about everything I need. I found a recipe that I thought seemed about right. I learned the dark green stuff in kale. I'd never heard of it or seen it in grocery stores. Never looked, but never remember seeing it.

Last Tuesday we were at the Huntington Beach farmers market and a guy was selling it for a dollar a bunch. I bought it, found the recipe again online, went shopping for the rest of what I needed, and today I made it. And I'm really surprised at how close it is to the real thing! I love it! Here's the recipe, pictures I took along the way, and my own notes/changes at the bottom.

  • 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.2. In the same pan, sauté bacon, onions and garlic over low-medium heat for approximately 15 mins. or until the onions are soft.3. Add chicken bouillon and water to the pot and heat until it starts to boil.4. Add the sliced potatoes and cook until soft, about half an hour.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. Delicious!Sauté is a fancy word for fry slowly. I used minced garlic, I couldn't find pureed, I don't know that it matters. I used sausage links and peeled the link wrap stuff off before I cooked it. Next time I'll search until I find straight up ground Italian sausage. I used real bacon, bacon bits. I didn't want fatty bacon. I'm guessing the recipe means bacon bits, but at first I almost bought a package of bacon to cook. Check your potatoes, it says 30 minutes but mine were perfect in about 19. When I added the sausage at the end I got some orange fat residue on the top of my soup. Still yummy, but next time I'll probably lightly rinse it, instead of just letting the fat drain off. Pull the leafy stuff off when preparing your kale and throw the middle stem part away, I included the 2 kale pictures so you can see what I had as a "bunch" and also how I chopped it. I left the skins on the potatoes. I usually don't really like russet skins, but the OG leaves them on, so I did, and its yummy. Oh and I should say I tripled the recipe so Paul can take it to work to share with his co-workers tomorrow, that's why it looks like a lot. This recipe serves 6-8.So Yummy!


Heidi said...

That looks delicious. Too bad I'm on a self-imposed don't-make-anything-fancy-for-dinner rule. We have a gift card to Olive Garden though, so maybe I'll try it while I'm there.

Adrian said...

My hubby makes this all the time for us. We love it. Even the boys eat it. They call it Swamp Soup!