I know I have mention before that, along time ago in another life, I worked as a waitress at the Olive Garden. Those were fun times filled with lots of salad, bread sticks, and yummy Zuppa Toscana. If you never had Zuppa Toscana from the Olive Garden then you are missing out! It is filled with sausage, potatoes, kale, butter, cream, and I am sure other yummy ingredients. It is soooooo good and I used to love sopping it up with breadsticks. If you haven’t guessed already I was not exactly health conscious back then.
When I first started to prepare this recipe it was not my intention to make a copycat Zuppa Toscana. I originally planned on making a slow cooker sausage and kale soup from the Freezer to Family ecookbook. But I did not have time for a slow cooker recipe so I decided to make it on the stove. I also wanted to change it up a bit and add potatoes for richness, some milk for creaminess, and I substituted turkey Italian sausage. So I guess you can say the recipe I ended up with was inspired by the Family to Freezer sausage and kale recipe but also resulted in a copycat version of Zuppa Toscana. Works for me.
Anyway, I was blown away when I took a taste of this soup. It is delicious and tasted almost exactly like the Olive Garden’s Zuppa Toscana. Honestly, in all the soups I have made I can easily say this is one of my favorites. It is really good. The flavors of the sausage, onion, garlic, and spices are great. I added a ½ teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes. This gives it a nice kick. If you are using a hot sausage you might not need it. But if you like it spicy then throw it in. Instead of cream or half and half I decided to just use 1% milk – mostly because that is what I had on hand. It leant the perfect amount of creaminess to this soup.
You will get about 7 servings from this batch. My husband had 2 bowls and I had 1 then I put the rest in 6-ounce mason jar containers for lunches and/or dinners this week. You can freeze them but if you do leave about 1 inch of room to allow for expansion. Then let thaw in the refrigerator and warm up on stove or in microwave.
I hope you give this recipe a taste because it is perfect especially for those of you who are living in a city – like Buffalo – where the winter just won’t quit.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 pound of ground turkey Italian sausage (or 6 links casings removed)
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 6 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper
- 4 medium russet potatoes, skinned, thickly sliced, and quartered
- 4 cups chicken broth
- 2 cups 1% milk
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 3-4 cups chopped kale
- Heat olive oil in medium to large soup pot and cook italian sausage until no longer pink. Break apart and crumble as it cooks.
- Add to sausage the onion, garlic, basil, oregano, and thyme. Cook for 5 minutes or until the onion and garlic start to soften.
- Add in potatoes, chicken broth, and milk. Cook until potatoes are soft. About 25 to 30 minutes. Give it a taste then add in the salt.
- Stir in the kale and cook for another 15 minutes or until kale is tender. Serve hot.
This soup can be made ahead completely then frozen in individual containers. Thaw in refrigerator then warm up on stove or microwave.
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