Every time I go to Olive Garden, I order the Zuppa Toscana. I have experimented with several versions of this recipe and have finallly found the right combination. I no longer have to drive over an hour to get my fix...now to master their salad dressing recipe.
Zuppa Toscana (Serves 8)
1 lb. ground italian sausage (sometimes I use spicy, sometimes I use turkey)
1-2 tsp. crushed red peppers
2 slices bacon, diced
1 large onion, diced
1 T. minced garlic
8 c. water (or chicken broth)
5 chicken boullion cubes (omit if you use chicken broth)
6 large potatoes, sliced (do not peel)
1/2 bunch kale, chopped
1 c. cream or half and half
Brown sausage with red pepper over medium heat in soup pot. Drain fat and remove to a bowl and set aside. In same pot, cook bacon until almost crispy, then add onions and garlic, cooking until onions soften. Add water and boulllion or broth, bring to a boil, then add potatoes. Simmer for 15-20 minutes until potatoes are soft. Remove from heat, add sausage, and stir in kale and half and half. Serve hot!
This soup reheats well, so don't be afraid of leftovers. I also add a lot of potatoes because we like soup with lots of stuff in it, not so much broth. Feel free to mess with the amounts to potatoes and water to get the consistency you like.