I'd never ordered Zuppa Toscana at Olive Garden until recently - strange, isn't it? It just didn't look as appealing as their other soups, with wilted greens and a strange color. I always opted for Chicken Gnocchi or Pasta e Fagioli instead. But once is all it takes. Delicious!
I searched until I found a recipe that I could work with. I found it on recipecritic.com. Of course, I had to make a few changes. First, I didn't throw the potatoes into the broth raw. I sautéed them first, and I really think that gave them a little texture and additional flavor.
Great soup for the first weeks of cool weather.
Creamy Zuppa Toscana
3 cans chicken broth (about 5-6 cups)
2 cups heavy cream
1 lb Italian Sausage
1/2 lb bacon - cooked and crumbled (retain a few tablespoons of the bacon fat)
4-5 russet potatoes, peeled and diced (or sliced)
1 medium onion, diced
2 garlic cloves (or 1/2 tsp minced, dried garlic)
2-3 cups chopped kale (or spinach)
salt & pepper to taste
Cook and crumble sausage, draining completely. Set aside.
Cook and crumble the bacon, retaining half of the bacon fat in the pan.
Now dice or slice potatoes (I left the skins on, but peel if you wish). Add them to the bacon fat with the diced onion. Saute until onion is limp and potatoes begin to change color.
Add sausage to potatoes and then add reserved bacon. Stir in chicken broth and bring to a boil. Boil until potatoes are fork tender.
Add in the chopped kale or spinach, cooking until the greens start to wilt. Reduce heat and add heavy cream.
Cook until heated through, then salt & pepper to taste.