Back when dinosaurs roamed the earth and I was a collegiate athlete, my main source of nutrition while on the road was Olive Garden’s Zuppa Toscana and all the breadsticks I could shove in my very bloated college face.
I wonder if college athletic programs have evolved since then and are encouraging athletes to fuel their bodies with things like vegetables, but I digress as that is a topic for another day.
Back to the star of today’s show, Zuppa Toscana.
I think it is the combination of simplicity and flavor that makes this soup so sought after and loved by so many.
The sausage adds the heat and flavor while the touch of cream with the crunch of crispy bacon makes for the perfect soup combination. Plus, there is kale too!
Have you ever searched for this soup on Pinterest? Everyone and their mother has their own riff, but I happen to think my connection to this cozy soup is pretty sweet and serendipitous too.
I have had this yummy soup in my own recipe box, long before Pinterest was even a thing.
One day during a visit with my “grandma with the pool” we got to talking about food of course, and I shared my love for this Olive Garden delight.
Little did I know, she loved it too.
My grandma and her lady friends used to make a regular trip to Olive Garden for their favorite soup until she stumbled upon the recipe one day when she was reading the newspaper.
As it turns out, even little old ladies in the late 90s were digging this cozy pot of goodness.
Anyway, here is me and my grandma’s riff on this fall’s hottest soup.
Weeknight or slow Sunday meal, this one is a keeper. Pair it with some crusty bread and butter and you’ve just brought Olive Garden Home.
Now that’s cozy!
- 1 Soup Pot
- 1 lb spicy Italian sausage
- 4-5 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1.5 lbs Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and diced
- 8 cups chicken stock
- 1 bunch chopped kale
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- kosher salt and pepper
- 1/2 lb bacon, chopped
- Turn the stove on medium heat and fry bacon until crispy.
- Remove bacon with a slotted spoon and set aside.
- Add sausage to the hot soup pot, break up with a slotted spoon, and cook until browned.
- Remove sausage and set aside in a separate bowl.
- Remove all but 2 tbsp of fat from the pot and add the chopped onion and cook for 5 minutes.
- Add the chopped garlic and cook for 1 minute or until fragrant.
- Add the chicken stock, parmesan rind, browned sausage, and potatoes. Cook until the soup reaches a simmer. Reduce the heat to low and let it go for about 10 minutes or until the potatoes are nice and tender.
- Stir in the kale and the cream and simmer for a few more minutes.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Serve warm with bacon and shaved parmesan.