We’re having a heat wave here in Ohio on this Labor Day weekend – it’s 6pm and currently 92 degrees outside – so, instead of being normal and making something cool and refreshing in this hot weather, I’ve made Olive Garden‘s Zuppa Toscana soup.
Although I wasn’t planning on spending part of my afternoon cooking, I had bought the ingredients several days ago and figured I had better cook it now before anything – particularly the greens – went bad. The recipe itself is really easy, and requires very little prep or work – instead, it’s mostly waiting for things to cook that takes up the nearly 60 – 75 minutes the recipe requires.
Here’s the ingredients you’ll need:
- 1 lb sweet Italian sausage
- 1 small onion, minced
- 3 tbsp. minced garlic
- 2 tbsp. real bacon bits (don’t use the fake stuff!)
- 1/8 tsp. red pepper flakes (use less than this if you don’t like things too spicy!)
- 10 cups water
- 8 medium size potatoes (less if they’re larger, more if they’re small)
- 1 cup heavy cream (half and half works too)
- 5 chicken bullion cubes
- 1 bunch of endive or escarole (don’t use kale – it’s very bitter)
Here’s how to make it:
- Brown the sausage and the red pepper flakes in the pot you are going to cook the soup in. Drain the sausage once it is brown and put it in the refrigerator.
- In the same pot, brown the onion, garlic, and bacon.
- Add the water and bullion cubes. Bring to boil.
- Wash the potatoes and cut them in half. Slice them into 1/4″ inch thick pieces and add them to the pot. You do not need to peel the potatoes.
- Cook the potatoes on low to medium heat for about 30 minutes, until they are soft.
- Lower the heat and add the heavy cream and stir.
- Add the sausage.
- Wash and chop the greens you’ve chosen. Eliminate the stalk portion as much as possible. Add the greens.
- Let the entire mixture sit for a few minutes to ensure that it is hot.