I have heard of zuppa Toscana many times before, particularly as a famed dish that is very popular at Olive Garden. I rarely eat out, even more rarely at that particular establishment, and when I do eat there I never order soup (how can I resist pasta?!) So I can’t say how this compares to their version. What I can say it that it was very, very good. My decision to try this was based on a gorgeous bunch of kale I purchased at the farmers’ market recently. It is not an ingredient I have used much but this was the first thing that came to mind – I’m guessing the chill in the air had something to do with that. This is a very hearty soup packed full of flavor. With crumbled sausage, chunks of russett potatoes and the earthy bite from the kale in a creamy broth, this is a meal in itself. I used half turkey and half regular Italian sausage because that was what I had on hand and also to cut a few extra calories. I thought it tasted just right this way and I’ll definitely do that again in the future.
Yield: about 8-10 servings
1 lb. Italian sausage (or half regular, half turkey sausage)
1 large onion, chopped
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
½ cup white wine to deglaze the pan
½ tsp. red pepper flakes
2 russett potatoes, peeled and cut into ½-inch chunks
2 cups fresh kale, chopped
3 cups chicken broth
2.5 cups water
1 cup heavy cream
Salt and pepper
Place a large stockpot or Dutch oven on the stove over medium heat. Crumble the sausage into the pan and cook until well browned. Remove the cooked sausage from the pot with a slotted spoon and transfer to a bowl; set aside. Add the chopped onion to the pan and sauté until tender, about 5-7 minutes.
Add the garlic and red pepper flakes to the pan and cook for a minute more, just until fragrant. Add the wine to the pot and stir, scraping the bottom of the pan to loosen any browned bits. Add the potatoes, kale, chicken broth and water to the pot. Return the sausage to the pot. Increase the heat to medium-high, bring to a boil, and then reduce to a simmer on medium-low. Cover and let simmer for about 20 minutes, or until the potatoes are fork-tender and cooked through.
Stir in the heavy cream and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.