October 27, 2011

Zuppa Toscana

One of my favorite restaurant meals is Olive Garden's soup, salad and breadsticks.  I don't really go there for anything else.  There is something about their salad dressing and perfectly chilled salad, the warm, buttery garlic breadsticks, and steaming fresh soup that makes me happy, its kind of like getting a big hug after a long day.  My favorite soup to order is their Zuppa Toscana: a simple, light, comforting soup with crumbled sausage, greens and potatoes.

Now that there is a chill in the air, (I think that fall is actually here to stay this time!), I've been craving soups... and after a huge bag of pre-washed, pre-cut kale called my name at BJ's the other day, I've been craving Zuppa Toscana.  So, I set out to copy my favorite restaurant soup at home.

The soup was delicious!  My husband and I both enjoyed seconds, and there are some leftovers waiting for us in the refrigerator.

"Zuppa Toscana"

1 lb. spicy italian sausage
1 lg. yellow onion, chopped
2 lg. garlic cloves, chopped
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/2 tsp. fennel
4 cups low-sodium, fat-free chicken broth
2 cups water
2 lg. russet potatoes, halved and sliced into 1/4 inch thick pieces
8 cups (approx.) chopped kale
1 cup reduced-fat milk

Remove sausage from casings.  Heat a large Dutch oven, (or heavy-bottomed pot), over medium-high heat. Brown sausage, breaking meat into small pieces as it cooks.  When sausage is browned, remove from pot and set aside.

Reduce heat to medium.  Place chopped onion and garlic into pot.  Add salt, pepper and fennel.  Saute until onion is translucent.  Add chicken broth and water to pot, scraping the bottom to loosen up any brown bits.  Add potatoes to broth mixture, simmer until potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes.  Add kale and sausage, simmer until kale is tender.  Stir in milk.  Serve immediately.

The soup, along with a crisp, fresh salad made a great dinner... if only I knew how to re-create their breadsticks!!

Notes on this recipe:  The other copy-cat recipes I stumbled upon called for heavy cream- I used reduced-fat Lactaid, (my husband is lactose intolerant).  Another healthy revision I made was the omission of bacon- several recipes I looked at for this soup included 2-4 slices of bacon.  I omitted the bacon mainly because I didn't have any, and I didn't miss it.  Next time I make this soup, I will use turkey sausage... the pork sausage was good, but the brand I used was a little fattier than I would have liked.

1 comment:

  1. I made this soup last night and couldn't believe it! It only took 15 minutes to put together and it was PHENOMENAL an hour later once the kale was tender. I don't think I've ever made anything this TASTY and LOWFAT! (I used turkey sausage and reduced fat milk) Can't wait till lunchtime today to have it again!!