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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.
-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.
Let me know what you think!
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