Anyone else living on soup lately? Winter comes and soup is all I care about. Okay not really just soup. Soup and cookies :). This Copycat Olive Garden Zuppa Toscana is a regular in my home so I figured I’d update the photos and share it with you again – because it has been 4 years since I first shared it (I originally shared it Dec. 2012) and a lot of you probably weren’t even reading my blog back then. I had maybe 10 readers. BTW I’m so incredibly thankful for the way this blog has grown. I don’t know if I’ve ever really expressed that to you before, but to all of you reading this right now, thank you for reading my blog! It has grown into a career for both my husband and I and it is what supports us and our two kids. I do all the cooking, picture taking and blogging my husband manages all those pesky ads (sorry! They pay our bills though).
Now, about this soup. If you haven’t ever tried it at Olive Garden I’ll tell you a little about it about it. It is pure comfort food. The end. Okay seriously, even though it doesn’t consist of a lot of ingredients or anything fancy it still has such a delicious flavor it is just good homestyle soup. I mean when you bring bacon and sausage together something good is probably about to happen. I know it’s not the healthiest soup but all things in moderation right? I’d rather just have a smaller serving than not have this soup for dinner at all. But who are we kidding when this shows up at the dinner table I’m never just there for a little serving. Gimme two bowls please and a generous slice of crusty bread for dunking. Cold days require comfort food like this sometimes so let’s indulge a little shall we? If you haven’t already tried it, I highly highly recommend adding it to your menu this week. It’s one of my favorites!
- 2 tsp olive oil
- 1 lb Italian Sausage (casings removed if necessary)
- 4 oz bacon (about 4 slices), diced into small pieces*
- 1 cup chopped yellow onion (about 1 small onion)
- 3 (14.5 oz) cans low-sodium chicken broth
- 2 cups water
- 1 1/2 lbs Russet potatoes, scrubbed and rinsed then sliced into halves, halves diced into 1/6-inch slices
- 1 1/2 tsp granulated sugar
- 1/2 tsp fennel seeds, slightly crushed**
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 cups half and half
- 1 1/2 cups packed chopped kale
- Finely shredded Romano cheese for serving, optional
- Heat olive oil in a large non-stick saucepan over medium-high heat. Crumble sausage into 1-inch pieces and add to saucepan. Cook sausage, stirring occasionally until cooked through. Drain sausage onto a plate or baking dish lined with paper towels, set sausage aside. Add diced bacon to saucepan, return to heat and saute 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add diced onions to bacon in saucepan and saute mixture until bacon is cooked through and onions are translucent, about 3 - 5 minutes longer.
- Add chicken broth, water, sliced potatoes, sugar, fennel seeds, salt and pepper. Bring soup just to a boil then reduce heat to medium-low and stir in cooked sausage. Cover saucepan and simmer, stirring occasionally, until potatoes are nearly tender, about 10 - 15 minutes. Add in kale then simmer until potatoes are soft and kale is tender, about 5 - 10 minutes longer. Stir in half and half and warm through. Use a spoon or ladle to remove excess fat from top of soup if desired. Serve warm topped with Romano cheese.
- *I added some extra cooked bacon to the top as well, mostly for pictures purposes though just so you can see that there is bacon in this soup. It doesn't really need it though...but I'll never turn down a little extra bacon.
- **To crush the fennel seeds up slightly, just place them in a small resealable bag, seal the bag then use the flat side of a meat mallet to break them up a bit.
- Recipe Source: Cooking Classy