I've been trying to make a new soup every Sunday. Well I've done it one Sunday, when I made Kristen Hampton's World Famous Chicken Noodle Soup and then I skipped a Sunday because of home remodeling and the mess left behind and trying to organize and put everything away.
But my daughter made a request for Zuppa Toscana - Olive Garden Style. My cousin Stella sent me her recipe and I read all the ingredients and purchased them and didn't read the instructions on how to make it.
Yesterday, when it was time to make it, Sunday Night's Game of the Week was almost ready to start and I watch it on the TV in the kitchen while I cook, I read the instructions and realized that her soup was a crock pot soup that I should have made 6 hours ago!
So I checked YouTube real quick and found a recipe that is almost exactly like hers. Here is the video in case you want to watch it. It's by Judyfoody! This video is much shorter than Kristen's only 5.53 minutes long and she explains everything perfectly!
And, she even has a blog where she lists all the ingredients with written instructions. It's call Judy Foody.
Here's the photo of my soup! Looks just like Olive Garden's Soup!
I'm going to list everything here in my blog because this is my way of keeping track of tried and true recipes that I love and want to eat again and again. This was delicious and exactly like the soup at Olive Garden!
1 lb Italian pork sausage (I used the spicy type)
4 strips of bacon
1 medium size onion
3 cloves of Garlic (she used 5 to 8 but that's too much for me!)
6 Russet potatoes (she says 2 to 3, but my people demanded more potatoes next time!)
2 - 32 ounce boxes of low sodium chicken stock (she says chicken broth, but tomatoes/tomato, it's all the same to me and chicken stock is what I always use for soups)
1 - 2 cups Heavy Cream (I used 2 cups, yes it's a very rich soup but so worth it!)
1 bundle of Kale (next time use only half the bundle)
Optional Ingredient - Red Pepper Flakes. The spicy Italian sausage was not near as spicy as I would have like, so I may try this next time.
Prep Potatoes by scrubbing them very well, you can peel them but I like the skin on, my son did not. Slice potato in half then slice half moon slices, the thinner the quicker they will cook, but I think next time I will slice them a bit thicker as they got lost somewhat in the soup. Place potatoes in a bowl and fill with cold water to keep them from getting brown.
Prep Onions - this is pretty self-explanatory, we all know how to slice onion right? I did mine very fine so my people would not see it, hahaha!
Prep Garlic - I placed the garlic on a cutting board as she says and put a knife on top of the garlic, lay it flat then with your fist hit the knife and the skin pops right off. Then I used my garlic press to mince it as I don't like biting into pieces of it.
Prep Kale - Easy to do, just take the leafy part off the stems after you wash it thoroughly! As she says, Use one hand to hold the stem of the Kale and the other hand to strip the leaves off the stem, then I gave it a rough chop.
Prep Bacon - Took the 4 slices and chopped it into half inch pieces, it almost disappears into the soup and you don't really taste it, but I bet if you left it out you would miss it.
Place olive oil in a deep pot, I probably used 2 tablespoons, once heated add your Italian Sausage and break it into chunks and cook it thoroughly then remove it from the pot and set it aside, make sure you drain it with a spoon so you leave some fat in the pot.
Add your bacon to the pot since it's still hot and leave the fat from the sausage. Don't let your bacon get crispy, you just want it to start releasing bacon juice, then add your onion and garlic to the pot and cook until onion is translucent, then drain the water from the potatoes and place them in the pot and give it a stir, the aroma!!! Oh my goodness!
Add the broth until it covers all the ingredients and bring the soup up to a boil. Once it's boiling, turn the heat to low and simmer the soup for 20 to 45 minutes until the potatoes are soft and tender. I did 20 minutes but I had sliced them very thinly.
Once potatoes are perfect, add the sausage back tot he pot and again bring it to a boil. Turn the heat to low and allow the soup to simmer for a couple of minutes, then taste the soup for seasoning. At this point I added salt and pepper.
While the heat is low, add and mix the heavy cream to the soup, making sure not to scorch the cream.
At this point Judy Foody says to take the soup off the heat and add the kale, but I added it while on the heat and let it sit a minute while the kale wilted because I like hot soup and I felt that the kale probably cooled it off too much. I would add less kale next time.
And that was it, easy and delicious, the prep time was harder than the cooking time and we all loved it and it was gone in a minute!
Another keeper that I will be making again and again.