Seared Italian sausage meat, bacon, onion and garlic caramelize then simmer in a chicken broth loaded with fresh kale and potatoes that gets finished off with heavy cream. If you need a tasty, one pot, comfort food soup, this Zuppa Toscana is for you.
Winter is here in San Diego, and if you’re looking for a comforting, warm you up dinner idea, then this Zuppa Toscana is for you!
Even if it’s not cold where you live, this soup is great for feeding a lot of people, any time, in any kind of weather.
How do you make Zuppa Toscana?
Well here is my adaption of the Olive Garden recipe for this classic soup from Tuscany. Zuppa toscana literally means “soup in the style of Tuscany”.
I use crumbled, seared hot Italian sausage meat, crisp bacon, cubed potatoes and cannellini beans in a chicken stock with heavy cream flavored with caramelized onions and garlic.
Add chopped, fresh kale and some parmesan cheese on top before serving and you have one incredibly, hearty and filling soup.
Most zuppa toscana recipes I’ve tried seem to cook the crispy bacon in the broth, which to me defeats the purpose of texture. #NoSoggyBacon
I like it crunchy and add it at the last minute with the chopped kale.
Speaking of the kale, be sure to pick through and toss any thick stems when chopping the kale. That stuff is hard to chew! Leaves only please.
Tender cooked potatoes and white beans add the bulk here. I have used Yukon Gold potatoes before, but prefer russets.
And if the heavy cream scares you, feel free to use half and half and feel better eating this without any guilt. Although I do prefer the heavy cream. 🙂
So grab yourself a spoon and some crusty french bread for dunking in the amazing broth this makes. Enjoy!
Zuppa Toscana (Olive Garden copycat)
- 1 lb hot Italian sausage
- 8 slices of bacon
- 1 large onion diced
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 4 cups chicken broth
- 3 cups water
- 2 large russet potatoes peeled and cubed (or Yukon Gold)
- 15.5 oz can of cannellini beans drained
- 1 tsp red pepper flakes
- 4 cups chopped kale stems removed
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream or Half and Half
- Parmesan cheese optional
- Peel and cube the potatoes into bite size pieces. Set aside.
- Brown sausage in a large soup pot or dutch oven. No oil or butter needed. Set aside when done.
- Cut bacon into 1 inch pieces. Add bacon to pot and cook until crispy. Remove bacon and set aside, leave bacon drippings in pot.
- Stir in onion and sauté for 5 minutes then add minced garlic and cook for 1 minute, stirring frequently.
- Add chicken broth, water and red pepper flakes.
- Add the potatoes to the pot and bring to a boil. Cover, lower heat to simmer and cook 15 minutes.
- Add the beans, cooked sausage and kale to the soup. Stir and simmer for 10 minutes, uncovered. Stir in the cooked bacon and heavy cream and heat through for a minute or two. Season to taste.
- Ladle into bowls and serve with grated Parmesan cheese on top (optional).