Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Tuscan Potato, Kale, and Sausage Soup

One of my favorite restaurants used to be Olive Garden. The main reason I loved the restaurant was for those big squooshy, salty, garlicky breadsticks they had...

...oh and yeah, the pasta was pretty good too! But I loved those breadsticks! (And actually just between you and me, I think I've come up with an incredible gluten free breadstick recipe that is very similar, but that's another post for another day!)

Another thing I loved about Olive Garden was their soup. Occasionally several co-workers and I would go for the breadsticks, soup, and salad lunch at the restaurant. My favorite soup served was "Zuppa Toscana." I loved the zesty creamy soup with the big chunks of Italian sausage, potatoes, fresh kale, and spices. It was such a robust soup with amazing flavor and color!

Several years ago I tried my hand at making it at home. It took a few tries, but I think I came up with a good imitation! Now, I make this soup using gluten free chicken broth and gluten free sausage but the flavor is just as delicious, and I always look forward to a big warm bowl when making it! A piece of Sheltie Girl's French bread would be wonderful with this soup! Enjoy!

Tuscan Potato, Kale, and Sausage Soup

1 lb. Italian sausage
3 slices bacon
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced

2-3 Tbsp. quality white wine
2 large russet potatoes (or 4 small red potatoes), sliced and cubed
2 cups kale, rinsed, patted dry, and chopped
1 cup heavy cream -or- low fat evaporated milk (though it may not be quite as creamy with the evaporated milk)
2 cups - 1 quart gluten free chicken broth
(add enough to thin soup to your liking)
Dash red pepper flakes
Salt/Pepper to taste

Cut sausage into bite size pieces. Bake in a 350 oven for 20 minutes until cooked through and crisp. Set aside. Cut bacon into bite size pieces. In a large soup or heavy dutch oven, brown pieces of bacon until crisp. Add onions and saute until tender. Add minced garlic. Deglaze pan (add a few tbsp. of white wine to the dutch oven and scrape the bottom of the pan for all little bits of stuck bacon and onions, this will add a lot of flavor to the soup broth!) Add 2 cups - 1qt chicken broth and diced potatoes. Add salt and pepper. Simmer for 15-20 minutes until potatoes are fork tender. Add chopped kale and sausage. Simmer for additional 10-15 minutes. Lastly add heavy cream or evaporated milk with a dash of red pepper flakes. Warm through and serve. Enjoy!!

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  1. I am so excited about this recipe! YUM!

  2. Would it be possible to make it with rice milk as I need to avoid dairy as well as gluten?


  3. Tenille -- Thank you!! And CONGRATULATIONS to you! I know you have another little one on the way!! I hope you will try the soup! I think you'd love it!

    Anon -- You could certainly try to make the soup with rice milk. You may want to take 2 cups of rice milk and add 1 Tbsp. of cornstarch and heat it up to thicken it a bit. That might work! I'd be interested in your results!

  4. Thanks, Carrie! We're really excited, but right now I may actually be more excited to try this soup. I MISS Olive Garden! :)

  5. well, tonight i made a soup that involved potatoes and kale and sausage...but it just wasn't anywhere close to as tasty as Tuscan soup. I learned my lesson. Thanks for posting your version!

  6. Cris -- I'm sorry your soup didn't turn out for you! The recipe you linked too certainly looked tasty!! I hope you'll give this one a try sometime! Let me know how it is for you if you try it!! This time I used evaporated milk in mine, so I could cut down on the fat, but I think I'd rather just have the cream! ;-)

  7. Oh Carrie, that looks good! You know I'm a sucker for soup! Do you know I've never tried kale? I'm not even sure what it tastes like! I'll have to look for some next week at the grocery.

    Have a good birthday weekend!

  8. That looks and sounds so good, maybe I could try something like this as a vegetarian version.

  9. GLUTI GIRL -- You know I don't think I ever had kale until I had this soup! IT's a wonderful yummy green! Kale is very curly and sturdy, and in soup, even when it's cooked it holds it's shape and has crunch! It is wonderful! I like spinach, but it just wilts and gets soggy in stuff like soup, I LOVE kale now!

    Emilia -- You could probably use a vegetarian sausage in the soup, although I'm not sure the "italian" flavor would come through! But I'm sure it would still be good! if you try it, please tell me what you think!

  10. This looks so good! I don't make nearly enough soup - and it's so convenient for leftover lunches.

    There's a similar lentil and sausage tuscan soup that I've been meaning to try, but my husband isn't a fan of lentils. He might like this one better! lol!


  11. Soup, soup, glorious soup! That looks like just the thing when the wind is howling round the house and the rain is hitting the window so hard you think someone is throwing gravel at it. A big bowl of delicious comfort :-)

  12. That is my favorite soup from Olive Garden! You are a wonderful, wonderful person. I cannot wait to try this. I can just taste all those wonderul flavors of this soup.