Submitted by Celeste Sagadin
BITECLUBCOOKS: A version of this recipe is a popular favorite at the chain restaurant, Olive Garden. Once you taste it, you can see why folks like it: Lots of smoky meat, plenty of garlic and Italian herbs, cream, sherry and kale (to make us think we’re being healthy!) The hearty Tuscan flavors make this a strapping soup on cool nights.
Don’t cheap out on the bacon or sherry. A thicker cut (I used Niman Ranch Applewood Smoked) crisps up better and infuses the pot. You can buy cooking sherry at most grocery stores, but they’re typically low quality and have salt added. Look around for a sherry you would actually drink.
In the many recipes I looked at for this soup, most called for Russets potatoes. I like a waxier red potato in my dish, so I substituted those. This soup seems to cry out for some nice, soft cannellini beans (aka white beans) to soak up the flavors.
INGREDIENTS FOR ZUPPA TOSCANA
3 large red potatoes cut into 1/4 inch slices
2 mild Italian sausages (in casing)
1/3 pound thick-cut bacon
1/2 large white onion, chopped
1/8 teaspoon fennel seed
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 garlic clove
1 cup kale greens, rinsed and chopped
1/4 cup Sherry (not cooking sherry)
1 cup heavy cream
6 cups chicken stock
Salt and Pepper to taste
cut potatoes in large pot of boiling water and boil for approx. 5-8
min. until potatoes are tender. Drain and set potatoes aside to cool.
Put chicken stock, sherry, and heavy cream in pot. Set aside.
and discard sausage casings. Place the meat in a large pan and brown
lightly. Drain meat on a paper towel and add to the chicken stock
mixture. Wipe out sausage pan and fry bacon until crisp. Reserve 1
tablespoon bacon grease in the pan. Cool and drain bacon on a paper
towel. Crumble into stock.
Add chopped onions into the pan with
the reserved bacon grease. Saute for about two minutes on medium heat.
Add fennel seed and red pepper flakes and saute until onion is
clear.Remove from heat, add garlic, tossing around to mix.
onion mixture, and potatoes to liquid. Return to medium heat, bring to
a boil and simmer for 20 minutes. Add chopped kale to soup before
serving. If soup needs more liquid, add additional chicken stock.