Thursday, September 8, 2011

A trio of soups for the day... and Zuppa Toscana Revisited.

I had a heck of a cooking frenzy this morning. In the space of 1 ½ hours, I had three pots of soup simmering away. I couldn’t believe how quickly and effortlessly it came together. And the great thing about soup is that they are typically one pot dishes, so my clean up from my soup frenzy was a snap.

These ingredients became...

A double recipe of "No Chop Chili" (recipe link HERE).

These ingredients will become...

Spicy Chicken Tortilla Soup with Black Beans (recipe link is HERE).

And now, for a new version of Zuppa Toscana. Tried to make it once before and was not super excited about it. Here is effort #2.  If you've not heard of it before, Zuppa Toscana is a soup from the Olive Garden. It contains smokey bacon, Italian sausage, potatoes, cavalo greens, creamy broth, onion, a little carrot, and most certainly...some mystery ingredients.  For my version, I opted for creamy cannelini beans in place of the potatoes.  I think my soup turned out great... perhaps you'd like to give it a try.

Zuppa Toscana 


1 tsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 yellow onion, diced
1/2 pound hot or mild Italian sausage
32 ounce carton chicken broth
1 pint fat free half and half
2 cans (15.5 ounce size can) cannelini beans (white kidney beans), drained and rinsed
1/3 cup all purpose flour
2 teaspoons dried Italian seasoning
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons granulated sugar
1/2 to 3/4 of a bunch of kale, washed, patted dry, and cut into bit size bits
2 carrots, coarsely grated
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg (freshly ground if you have it)


In a large soup pot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the uncooked sausage and onions.  Crumble the sausage with a wooden spoon.  Cook, stirring frequently, until onions are softened and no pink remains in the sausage, about 5 to 6 minutes.

Sprinkle the flour over the sausage and onion mixture.  Add in the Italian seasoning, salt, pepper, sugar, and black pepper.  Stir to combine and cook and another 1 to 2 minutes.  Slowly whisk in the chicken broth and then whisk in the half and half.  Bring to gentle, gentle boil.  Add in the beans.  Simmer gently, covered, for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add in the kale, grated carrot, and ground nutmeg. Stir to combine.  Cover and cook an additional five minutes.


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