Copy Cat Recipe: Olive Garden's Zuppa Toscana
I am getting closer.
I keep trying to make Zuppa Toscana like you get at The Olive Garden Restaurant: spicy sausage, fresh kale and russet potatoes in a creamy broth.
This is my closest effort yet! I regret I cooked the kale at the end just a tad too long. I could have cut the kale more finely and I also used a little too much kale. But aside from these few things, I am on the right track. I used Lacinato kale (also called Tuscan or dinosaur kale).
Slow Cooker Recipe for Zuppa Toscana
1/2 pound Johnsville brand Hot Italian sausage, cooked, crumbled, drained on paper towels
1 small yellow onion, finely diced
3 to 4 small cloves garlic, finely diced
32 ounce carton chicken broth
1 large russet potato, skin on, finely sliced (see photo below)
2 tablespoons Hormel brand fully cooked bacon crumbles
1 cup kale (measure loosely), chopped in to small bite sized pieces
1 cup whole milk
crushed red pepper flakes
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Cook, crumble and drain the sausage in a skillet over medium heat. Add the sausage to the slow cooker (Crock Pot) along with the onion, garlic, chicken broth, potato, and bacon. Cook on low for 3 1/2 to 4 hours (until potatoes are desired tenderness). Add kale to top of soup and cover the Crock Pot with the lid; no need to stir it in as the steam will turn the kale a beautiful green). After kale turns bright green (it will just take a few minutes), add in 1 cup whole milk, a few pinches of crushed red pepper flakes, about 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, and some freshly ground black pepper. Taste to see if there is enough salt and pepper. Enjoy!
Above: Here is a photo from The Olive Garden website. When I saw this photo, I knew I overcooked my kale and added a bit too much kale.
I am also adding a photo of the sliced potatoes to show you how I sliced them up. I like that Olive Garden keeps the skins on and slices the potatoes like this. Don't worry if your potatoes are varying thickness; some will break up in the soup and others will be a bit more firm. It's all good!