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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