Hi!! It sure has been a while! Glad to be back! In my last post TWO YEARS AGO!! I introduced you to my twin grandsons Grayson and Jackson. Well, that (and my fur and furless babies) have kept me pretty busy. Here is a recent picture of the twins (Jackson on the left, Grayson on the right)…
Little loves of my life. This grandparent gig is alright 🙂 But I digress…
Back to the food! I went to Olive Garden and the waitress let me try their Zuppa Toscana. I loved it! Wanted to recreate it at home so I have a whole pot to get full, fat and happy with. I scoured the internet and read a whole bunch of recipes and discovered I pretty much had everything I needed to make a batch. Score!
I followed this recipe (tweaked it very little) since I had some roasted chicken flavored Better Than Bouillon in my pantry. Super easy recipe. Makes a ton! I have lunch and dinner for the rest of the week. I made a loaf of crusty bread to go with. The perfect accompaniment! We will just ignore the fact it was almost 90 degrees in my part of Wisconsin.
If you are looking for super easy-to-make comfort food. Look no further.
- 1 lb of ground mild Italian sausage (I kind of prefer hot, to each their own)
- 3 large baking potatoes, peeled and cut into slices or chunks
- 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 yellow onion – finely chopped (because I do not like large pieces of onion..call me crazy…you won’t be the first one)
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/4 real bacon pieces (if you want to cheat…you can buy the Oscar Mayer real bacon bits. I won’t tell..promise!)
- 10 cups of water, divided
- 7 teaspoons Organic Better Than Bouillon chicken base (Roasted chicken is amazing)
- 1 bunch fresh kale, stemmed and torn into little pieces
- 1 small container heavy whipping cream
- S & P
- Grated Romano (optional)
- In a large pot on medium/high heat add the ground sausage and crushed red pepper flakes. Using a spatula, break up the sausage until it is fully cooked through. *You can take the sausage out of the pot. I did not.
- Add the olive oil, chopped onion, and real bacon pieces until the onions become translucent and begin to brown (about 10 minutes). Add garlic and cook for an additional 3 minutes.
- Add 2 cups of water to the pot and stir well to get all the sweet onion flavor from the bottom of the pan. Add the chicken concentrate and stir to combine. Add the remaining 8 cups of water.
- Add potatoes and cook until fork tender. Here is where you want to test the saltiness. The chicken base is pretty salty on its own. I did not add any extra salt even after adding the potatoes and heavy cream. Your preference.
- After the potatoes are done, add the cooked sausage back into the soup (if you took it out). Skim off most of the fat from the sausage that floats onto the surface using a large spoon (again, your preference. I like the flavor the fat from the sausage gave the soup so no skimming at my house).
- Add the fresh kale and stir in to allow the leaves to soften slightly. It will seem like too much, but it will cook down with time.
- Reduce the heat to low and add the heavy cream. Stir.
- Add freshly ground black pepper to taste.
- Garnish each serving with some grated Romano.
I’ll be taste testing this on the twins to see if they like it. Grayson eats what won’t eat him first so I think it will be a hit! If you make this, I want to know how it turned out.