Turns out there were quite a few from which to choose but none of them sounded 'quite right' as I couldn't for the life of me remember there being bacon in the soup. However, every recipe I looked at called for bacon in varying amounts so I figured that had to be right, right? I ended up using a little of this and a little of that from each of the recipes that I found and eventually ended up with my own recipe of sorts. When I made the soup I doubled the recipe as the way I look at it you can never have enough Zuppa Toscana and I knew Amanda would be looking for leftovers if it came out as well as the soup we love at The Olive Garden.
If you'd like to try it, the recipe I used was:
- 1 quart water
- 2 14.5 oz cans of chicken broth
- 4 medium-size russet potatoes
- 1/2 medium onion
- 1-1/2 to 2 tsp minced garlic
- 3 pieces of cooked crisp bacon, diced
- 1 pound spicy Italian sausage
- 3 cups chopped kale
- 1 cup heavy cream
- salt and pepper
- Cook the Italian sausage, crumbling it as you go (I used the non-link variety); drain and set aside.
- Lightly saute the onion in the same pan you just cooked the sausage in until soft.
- In a large pot, add water, chicken broth, garlic, sauteed onions, and potatoes; cook over medium heat until potatoes are tender.
- Add cooked sausage and cooked diced bacon to the pot and let simmer for another ten minutes.
- Add kale and heavy cream to pot; season with salt & pepper; heat for about 5 to 10 minutes; serve to rave reviews!
Unfortunately Jamie didn't much care for the soup as she thought it was a little too spicy for her tastebuds and she's also not much of an Italian sausage fan but I thought it actually came out pretty close to the real thing. I think the next time I make it, I'm actually going to throw in a couple extra potatoes and see how it comes out and I might toss in another handful of kale, too, but other than that I'm going to give myself a pat on the back and call it buon abbastanza rammendato per una prima prova!*
*pretty darned good for a first try!