Zuppa Toscana

I know eating at Olive Garden is not the coolest place to say you’ve eaten at, but I am absolutely in love with their Zuppa Toscana soup. It’s a creamy soup with collared greens, chunks of spicy Italian sausage, and slices of potato. I wanted to see if I could make it at home.

Yesterday night was perfect for some warm, rich soup…I live in the Sunset neighborhood of San Francisco, which doesn’t always live up to its name as you can see from the picture below. It was so cold and foggy before it even got dark!

View from my backyard

View from my backyard

I scoured the web for a homemade version of Olive Garden’s Zuppa Toscana and decided to try Cycle Michael’s Copycat from Food.com.

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I quickly found out that the instructions from this recipe was not the best. Just a heads up, you do need a big soup pot (like the one in the photo) and a smaller one for later.

Start by browning the Italian sausage in the pot, I added a few slivers a butter so that the meat wouldn’t stick or burn. I bought Sweet Italian Pork Sausage from Trader Joe’s but I think spicy sausage would have been great and similar to the restaurant version. In retrospect I would have cut the sausage into smaller pieces.

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Next add the chicken broth and water.

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In a separate pot you want to cook your potatoes, minced garlic, and onion slices until the potatoes are soft. I actually cut the potato into thin slices instead of chunks because they cook faster and you won’t get a spoonful of potato later.

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When ready add the small pot ingredients into the big soup pot. I also added turkey bacon that was baked in the toaster oven earlier. Sprinkle in salt and pepper and let it all simmer together to let the flavors really meld.

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Lastly, the finally ingredients: turn to low heat and add kale first because it needs to cook longer to get soft or else uncooked kale is pretty tough to chew and tastes bitter. Slowly pour in the heavy whipping cream and heat thoroughly without it simmering or boiling.

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The final product! It smelled really good and tasted amazingly similar to Olive Garden’s version, just a little more watery. I am assuming the restaurant likes to add more cream to make it richer, but I prefer to keep this healthier.

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Now if only I could make their famous breadsticks at home!

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