I’m not going to lie. I love Olive Garden. My best friend Ashley and I would go and gorge ourselves on unlimited soup, salad, and breadsticks (SSB) for a mere $7 for lunch all the time. Even the First Lady is a fan! Alas, it has been forever since I’ve been to an Olive Garden, but my love for the SSB trio lives on.
I love all the soups, but zuppa Toscana holds a special place in my heart. A rich, creamy broth with sausage and potatoes is so hearty and satisfying and the leafy greens make you feel a little better about the extra calories from the cream. I’d forgotten about my love of zuppa Toscana until it popped up on my Facebook feed. I immediately Googled for a recipe and came across one on one of my favorite food blogs, Annie’s Eats. If you can’t make it to an Olive Garden, this recipe is sure to hit the spot! Serve with bread and a salad with Italian dressing and you’ve got your very own SSB combo!
1 pound sweet or spicy Italian sausage (pork or turkey or half each)
1 large onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
4 cups chicken broth (approximately 1 carton or 2 cans)
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (omit if using spicy sausage)
2 russett potatoes, peeled and cut into ½-inch chunks
2 cups fresh kale, de-stemmed and chopped or torn into pieces
2 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 1/2 cup of chicken broth (or use white wine) to the pot and stir, scraping the bottom of the pan to loosen any browned bits. Add the potatoes, kale, remaining 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 15-20 minutes, until the potatoes are fork-tender and cooked through. Stir in the heavy cream and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.