Zuppa Toscana – How I Learned to Adore Kale

Rustic peasant fare, this soup is full of kale, sausage, potatoes and bacon in a light creamy broth.  So yummy. Be prepared to make loads of it.

Kale is one of the pretty greens I categorically dismissed for years along with collard and mustard greens.  In fact I’m pretty sure Olive Gardens Zuppa Toscana was my kale “Aha!” moment.  Now I understand that not only is kale chock full of amazing nutrients and fiber, but is honestly delicious.  The light creamy broth is perfect tummy warming goodness to hold the simple and inexpensive ingredients.

This soup was my choice every time we went to Olive Garden during our outings to the mall to do what girls do best, “shop till we dropped”.  It kept the grumpies at bay.  So what is a picture of little girls doing in a food blog?  Meet my daughters (sorry KJ, it was necessary).  This was taken prior to their “shop till I drop” phase.  They were in vogue even as toddlers.  Could that be underwear with a flower on Elle’s head? No way!

Years later, kids away at college, I figured the recipe out and frequently had it waiting for them. They would arrive  for a long weekend hungry, tired,  luggage and friends in tow at the door.  Let’s cook!

What you’ll need:

    • 1 lb Italian sausage, I prefer sweet but hot is great for more “bite”
    • 1 large diced onion
    • 4  bacon pieces, diced
    • 2 tsp garlic, minced
    • 10 cups chicken broth
    • 1 cup heavy cream (can add more milk or cream to desired consistency)
    • 1 lb scrubbed,sliced Russet potatoes, or about 3 large potatoes
    •  bunch of kale.  I use about 1lb.
    • Sauté Italian sausage  in a large pot. Drain excess fat.
    • In the same pan, sauté bacon, onions and garlic over low-medium heat for approximately 15 mins. or until the onions are soft.
    • Add chicken broth to the pot and heat until it starts to boil
    • Add the sliced potatoes and cook until soft, about half an hour.
    • Add the heavy cream and just cook until thoroughly heated.
    • Stir in the sausage and the kale, let all heat through and serve. 
    • VOILA!
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2 thoughts on “Zuppa Toscana – How I Learned to Adore Kale

  1. Zuppa Toscana sounds like an Italian version of Portuguese Kale Soup. Kale Soup has a light broth rather than the creamy broth of your Zuppa Toscana. It’s made with linguica or chorizo, pronounce cher-ese’ in Massachusetts, where many Portuguese immigrants landed and brought with them their incredible recipes as well as their cranberry-growing talent. I can’t wait to try your recipe. BTW, a cranberry bog during harvest time is a truly gorgeous sight to behold.

  2. It is interesting to see how many variations of recipes there are out there. For example, when my niece lived in China a sort of salsa was daily fare. Just about the same ingredients except they didn’t have tortillas.

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