Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Taste-Alike: Olive Garden Zuppa Toscana


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Cold Chicago winters make me long for summer - and soup. And, while I'm lucky enough to have an Olive Garden restaurant nearby, I don't always want to drive there. So, here's a "Taste-Alike" recipe that is a lovely substitution.

This is a warm and hearty soup. Olive Garden describes their Zuppa Toscana (Tuscan Soup) as having "spicy sausage, russet potatoes and cavolo greens in a creamy broth." I usually include kale in mine. Last night the grocer was out of kale. I substituted mustard greens which worked well.

Here's my Taste-Alike recipe for Zuppa Toscana:

1.5 lbs ground Italian sausage (mild)
1 or 2 t. red pepper flakes (crushed)
1 large white onion (small dice)
3 slices bacon (very crispy, chopped)
2 t. garlic (minced)
1 box (16 oz.) of chicken broth
1 cup heavy cream
1 lb. sliced Russet potatoes (cubed)
handful of kale
salt and pepper to taste

Sauté the Italian sausage. (If you like things a bit spicy, you can also toss the crushed red pepper flakes in with the sausage to bring out the oils.) Drain excess fat and set the sausage aside.

Cook the bacon until it's crispy and lay on paper towel to drain. Chop bacon into pieces. Sweat the onions in some bacon fat until they are translucent. Add the minced garlic at the end. (Careful, garlic burns easily.)

To a large pot, add the onions, garlic, bacon pieces and the chicken broth. When broth reaches a boil, add the cubed potatoes. Cook until potatoes are still a little firm.

Reduce heat to simmer.

Add heavy cream and the cooked sausage. (Add the crushed pepper flakes if they weren't cooked with the sausage.) Add salt and pepper to taste. Add torn pieces of kale just before serving.

Tips:
-I use Swanson's chicken broth. I do not use low sodium.
-I have tried using hot sausage in place of the crushed red pepper - but it leaves a red oil slick on the surface of the soup. (Tastes fine, but it's not pretty.)

You can serve with a crusty bread, or...

Accompanying last night's soup were Cheddar, bacon and chive biscuits from The Cutting Edge of Ordinary. (I assure you that Lisa's pictures of HER biscuits are GLORIOUS. Mine pics...are green. It's due to my penchant for cooking at midnight and snapping pics in the dark of night. Just use your imagination - or better yet, look at Lisa's site for the biscuit recipe.)

The biscuits...wow. Okay, imagine a loaded twice-baked potato. If you love cheddar, bacon and chive, these are your manna. I think I'm gonna try brushing them with garlic butter next time as they come out of the oven. Yum!

You might want to check out my other "Taste-Alike" recipes:
Corner Bakery's Pesto Cavatappi
Sizzler's Malibu Chicken and Sauce.

Enjoy!
Let me know what you think!

Also appearing on:

Olive Garden's Zuppa Toscana
It's a Blog PartyBoogieboard CottageMakingThe Prairie HomesteadThe Girl CreativeMad In CraftshomeworkMe and My Boys


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13 comments:

Lisa@The Cutting Edge of Ordinary said...

Dana your biscuits look just like mine! Aren't they wonderful?? Thanks for mentioning me! You done good girl!

Darcy said...

That looks great, Dana!! It's on my list along with Lisa's biscuits! YUM!

christine said...

Hello! I found this blog in Foodista and followed it here. This is a lovely blog and awesome Zuppa Toscana recipe. Reminds me of mom's recipe and it was superb, I bet yours is excellent too! By the way you can place more Foodista widget in your past and future blogs so that other Foodista readers can follow and see your blog too. Just search for a related recipe or food in Foodista and use its widget. I hope to read more from you. Cheers!

Ashley said...

o they look fabulous! i want one:) hehe thanks for linkin with Tell Me Tuesday!!
xo
ash

Jill said...

This sounds delicious..I pinned it!

Dana @ Cooking At Cafe D said...

Jill,
Thanks for the pin!
You can find us at @CookingAtCafeD
I'm gonna go look for you on Pinterest!

Charlene said...

Saw your link on Delicious Dishes and so glad I did. Love soup and love Olive Garden -- can't wait to try this! Another midnight photographer here, too -- lol!

Beth said...

I just found your blog today! I make this recipe ALL the time and it's one of my hubby's favorites, but he thought it still needed something to make it more "stick to your ribs", so I add 1 cup of Ditalini pasta to mine. I think I will have to try making the biscuits though for a flavorful change to the usual Italian bread we have.

Melissa | Cajun Sugar Pie said...

Zuppa Toscana is one of my fave's from Olive Garden. I'm definitely trying this recipe! Thanks for sharing it.

Chris said...

Hi Dana, your Zuppa Toscana sounds absolutely delicious. I will have to make this myself now that the weather is cooler. Thanks for sharing this. I have recently found your blog and am now following you, and will visit often. Please stop by my blog and perhaps you would like to follow me also. Have a wonderful day. Hugs, Chris

Melissa | Cajun Sugar Pie said...

Made this soup last week, and my husband loved it! Thanks for posting the recipe!

Dana @ Cooking At Cafe D said...

Melissa,
Thanks so much for stopping by to tell us your husband loved it! My husband gives it 2 thumbs up, too. Very hearty.
~ Dana

Inspire Me Heather said...

Thanks for posting your recipe, it would be perfect for a cold winters night - yum!!!

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--Dana

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