Do you watch Lidia Bastianich on PBS? I love her. I love that she enjoys food, and I love that the food that she cooks is stuff that I can do as well. However, this post isn’t about something that I’ve seen her make. It’s about Olive Garden and the fact that my husband loves their Zuppa Toscana, and the fact that there is FINALLY snow on the ground, and enough of a reason for me to share this recipe. Also, I’m not one to embrace what I don’t love, and I love to eat. Yes, I know that I could stand to put a post up about healthier recipes, but I will
The weird thing is, I’ve been making it since the ladybug was an infant, and I’ve never thought to share it here. Until my good friend Tamara from Natural Hair Rules asked about it. I still didn’t get it up for her then, either, because I’m a bad bloggy friend, but now, I’m here! This is a great meal, and it’s very filling. It also isn’t one of those soups that you can set and then step away from, because there are quite a few steps to getting it done. However, you can get it finished in about 60 minutes, so it will make a perfect lunch or even dinner. Get some crusty bread, and you’re good to go.
You’ll need to make sure that you have all the ingredients that you need ready to go. Beware ladies and gents, in requires kale – a leafy green vegetable that some people love to hate. We’ve been eating kale since before it became a trend, and happen to love it, but I do understand the lack of empathy for the green that so many folk try to make trendy.
To start, you will need to gather a few groceries. I’ll wait.
- 2 pounds mild Italian Sausage (do yourself a favor and get it bulk instead of in sausage form. Trust me.
- 2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes we add a bit more, but I would say, if you don’t like spice, pull back
- 6 slices of bacon chopped into small pieces. Do it to about 1/2 an inch. I use my kitchen shears for this.
- 1 medium onion coarsely chopped
- 4 cloves of garlic minced
- 9 cups of chicken stock or chicken broth your preference
- 6 medium potatoes sliced thinly (I use my mandolin for this – best thing ever)
- 2 cups heavy whipping cream
- 1 bunch of kale or spinach if you’re a kale hater, or can’t process it. Remember to remove the stems, unless you need roughage.
Now, there are two ways that you can do this. You can do the one pot method, which I prefer, or skillet to pot method. Your choice. I’m going to give you instructions for using a dutch oven, because I love my (four) dutch ovens so much.
Heat a large dutch oven over medium high heat. Add bacon and cook until brown and crispy, about 6-8 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate; set aside.
Using the bacon fat as your oil, add Italian sausage and red pepper flakes to the skillet and cook until browned, about 3-5 minutes, making sure to crumble the sausage as it cooks; drain all but 2 tbsp of the excess fat and set aside.
Heat 2 tsp of the fat in the Dutch oven over medium heat. Add garlic and onion, and cook, stirring frequently, until onions have become translucent, about 2-3 minutes. Stir in chicken broth and bring to a boil. Add potatoes and cook until tender, about 10 minutes.
Stir in sausage, bacon, and kale until the kale starts to wilt, about 1-2 minutes. Stir in heavy cream until heated through, about 1 minute; season with salt and pepper, to taste.
There aren’t too many meals that the entire family eats without a complaint of some sort. Either there is too much meat, or it’s too slimy, or too potato-y. This however is one that for the most part, everyone does enjoy. Except I have to remove the kale from the little people’s bowls. They are tiny haters.