Zuppa Toscana...a Rustic Sausage and Potato Soup!

 
 
This is a  very rustic soup, almost a stew that is very much like the one they serve at Olive Garden.  It's hearty, very filling, easy to make, and economical which makes it a big winner in my book.  With some homemade soups you need to start them fairly early in the day, but this one can be ready, start to finish in 45 minutes.  Here's what you'll need:
 
1 lb sausage (Italian or regular breakfast sausage works)
4-5 medium baking potatoes, washed and sliced with skins on (don't slice them too thin or they will break up too much)
3 Knorr chicken bouillon cubes (use 6 of other brands that only make 1 cup of broth)
1 medium onion, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
1 Tbs. minced garlic
2 Tbs. Olive Oil
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 tsp. dried basil
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes (optional)
6-7 cups water ( enough to cover potatoes in the pot)
2 cups half and half
4 cups kale or baby spinach  (I prefer the spinach)
grated Parmesan or Romano cheese for garnishing
 
 
Brown the sausage, onion, celery and garlic in a little olive oil.  Scrub the potatoes well and slice with the peels left on.  Add all of the seasonings, the water and the bouillon cubes.  Cook on medium heat until the potatoes are fork tender...maybe 20 minutes!
 
Add the half and half and stir.  Break up the potatoes some at this point, but not a lot. You want most of them to stay in slices.  Don't let it come back up to a boil, just keep on low heat to heat the cream.  You can add the kale or spinach to the entire pot right before serving if your family all likes the greens. If you have picky eaters, like I do, just place some of the greens in each of the bowls that want them and ladle the hot soup over them.  This cooks them plenty and actually I prefer to do this. 
 
Garnish each bowl with shredded Parmesan or Romano cheese and  it's best served with breadsticks, crusty bread or even cornbread hoe cakes are really good with it.
 



14 comments:

  1. This looks absolutely delicious!! I am in the process of cooking and freezing copious amounts of soup for when our little one arrives in November, so I am going to add this one to the queue. Great recipe!

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  2. My husband's favorite soup is the potato and sausage soup from Olive Garden, but I made this one for him and I think he now has a new favorite! Great-tasting, easy-to-make soup! Delicious!

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  3. Can you use whole milk or canned cream instead of half and half?

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  4. I've made this & its Delicious.

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  5. I think this would be very good made with smoked sausage! I love sausage but it makes me burp and seems like I can still taste it for hours after eating it!

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  6. Yummy! My moms favorite at the olive garden, making this for her on Tuesday!
    Thanks, Penny

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  7. I have made this for years. Only I use my leftover Sausage Gravy! Boil the potatoes till almost done then I add the frozen spinach. Once that has simmered I will add in the sausage gravy and additonal cooked Itln. sausage. Also, add in Fennel Seed - this seems to spice it up a bit. Happy Cooking!

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  8. RiverBoat Cook, are you actually a riverboat cook? I come from a long line of riverboat people. Your recipe sounds good also!

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  9. this looks soooo delicious,can't wait to make some :)

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  10. This soup looks so delicious,Thank You for sharing ,I hope to try it soon

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  11. This was awesome! Can you tell me the company & pattern name for the blue rose plate & bowl?

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  12. I have made this numerous times for different gatherings, I never bring leftovers home. I use hot italian ground sausage plus I add fried crumbled bacon to my soup plus I saute the onion in a little of the bacon drippings. I also add diced garlic (in jar) and garlic paste. I also use chicken stock in place of water. Add a little crushed red pepper flakes if you like it spicey I like my version better than Olive Garden. They mostly give you broth with maybe a couple bites of potatoes

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  13. I make mine with a good smoked sausage cut in 1/4 in. slices, chicken broth instead of bouillon, water, Knorr Leek soup mix and sliced leeks that I have sweated until almost caramelized. Delicious.
    I love soup anytime of the year. All of your recipes are fantastic.
    My favorite dessert is your Kentucky Butter Cake.
    Thanks for all of the recipes you give us.

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