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Zuppa Toscana Copycat (Sausage, Potato, and Kale Soup)

Serves 10     adjust servings

Zuppa Toscana is a rich and creamy, soul-satisfying soup made with Italian sausage, potatoes, and hearty kale. It’s a copycat recipe of the famous soup at Olive Garden. I could eat this stuff for days!

Ingredients

  • 1 and 1/2 pounds Italian sausage (I like mild)
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 4 cloves garlic, smashed and minced
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 3 cups whole milk
  • 2 pounds russet potatoes, sliced
  • 1 large bunch kale (about 5 cups)
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • more shredded Parmesan, to garnish

Instructions

  1. In a large soup pot, add 1 and 1/2 pounds sausage over medium high heat. You can use mild sausage or a combination of hot and mild.
  2. Add 1 large onion, chopped.  Use a wooden spoon to crumble the sausage.
  3. Add 2 teaspoons kosher salt and 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper (remember you can always add more later). Continue sautéing for about 7-10 minutes, until the sausage is thoroughly cooked.
  4. Add 4 cloves of minced garlic. Sauté for one more minute, until garlic is fragrant.
  5. Turn off the heat and drain the grease from the soup pot. There are lots of ways to do this, but I usually tilt the pot to one side and ladle the grease out into a foil-lined bowl (then refrigerate the grease and toss in the garbage).
  6. Turn the heat back on to medium high and stir in 2 tablespoons flour.
  7. Once the flour is incorporated, slowly add 4 cups of chicken broth while stirring.  You want the flour to thicken the broth, not get clumpy, so go slow.
  8. Slowly add 3 cups of whole milk while stirring.
  9. Scrub your potatoes well to get rid of the dirt, then use a sharp knife or food processor to slice the potatoes into 1/4 inch thick coins.
  10. Add the potatoes to the pot. Turn the heat down to medium and bring to a low boil.
  11. Once the soup is at a low simmer, continue simmering for about 20 minutes, until the potatoes are tender.
  12. Meanwhile, prep the kale. Wash it well and use a sharp knife to cut out the thick stems all the way up the leaf.  Tear or cut the kale into bite size pieces.
  13. When the potatoes are tender, add the kale to the soup.
  14. Add two cups of cream and stir very gently. You don’t want to demolish all of your nice tender potatoes. Just move your spoon around enough so that all the kale is mostly covered with liquid.
  15. Turn the heat to low and let cook for another 15 minutes, until the kale is wilted.
  16. Gently stir in 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese.
  17. Serve with fresh shredded Parmesan cheese and a few grinds of black pepper.

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