Have you ever been to Olive Garden? If you haven’t been there, chances are you’ve heard of it. It’s actually not my favorite restaurant ever – everything there is okay but not amazing. With one exception!!
Can you guess what the exception is…?
Yes! This soup! They have a soup there called “Zuppa Toscana,” and it is basically my favorite thing on this whole planet. I am obsessed. If I go to Olive Garden, it is for one reason…’bout to feeeaaast on some unlimited soup and salad…meaning eat like nine bowls of this soup.
I just love everything about it. I feel lame going there and getting the same thing every single time, but whatever…WORTH IT!
I don’t really understand why it is so good…it is incredibly, incredibly simple. Onions, garlic, sausage, potatoes, kale, chicken stock, milk. That’s it. Maybe that’s why it is so good…sometimes we overcomplicate things and forget that the simple stuff can be just as good if not better than all of our fancy schmancy creations.
See? Look! This soup not only tastes delicious but also teaches us lessons. Thank you, Zuppa Toscana, for your multiple uses in life.
There is a very important step at the end of this soup that is much more fun to participate in at home rather than at the restaurant. You know when the waiter/waitress comes to your table, brings your food, and then holds that nifty little parmesan turner/grater/awesome contraption (where can I get one???) and says “Parmesan?”
Then you proceed to look at her like Um…is that a question? Yes, lady, load me up.
But then the awkward part happens. You watch as the growing pile of parmesan forms on your soup, and you know the waiter is beginning to feel uncomfortable, so you say “Okay, that’s good” while thinking Giiirrrlll I could have doubled dat.
BUT – when you make this at home, you can add all the Parmesan cheese you want! And if you decide that you want to buy me one of those twisty cheese graters for a present, I would not be mad at you. I would just be forced to make this soup every week so I can properly utilize it. Bummer.
So I feel it is necessary to at least mention last night and the Panthers’ horrible defeat. Ugh. I was seriously so mad. Since I was still recovering from my multiple days of HORRIBLE food poisoning, I decided to watch the game curled up on my couch with a blanket instead of being social. Curled up on the couch with a blanket and screaming at my TV every seven seconds I might add. I was judging myself.
And my neighbors probably were, too. Whatevs.
It was a very, very frustrating game. The Panthers are wwaaayyy better than they played last night. But it’s okay! Next year, next year ?.
On another note, I am fiiiiinally feeling my normal, healthy self after my five day stint of sickness (THANKS QDOBA FOR BETRAYING ME FOREVER). Food still doesn’t sound good…what a sad life…but I’m hoping that goes away in the next few days, too. It is actually a testament to this soup that I had such a strong desire to eat it tonight as I was making it. Thanks, Zuppa Toscana, for forcing some nourishment into my bod-ay.
GOODBYE SICKNESS and goodbye Qdoba forever and ever. And ever. And ever. Blech.
Make this soup, people – it so easy and even better than Olive Garden’s delicious version!!
Zuppa Toscana [Olive Garden Copycat]
- Prep Time: 10 mins
- Cook Time: 40 mins
- Total Time: 50 mins
- Yield: 8 servings 1x
- 1 pound mild Italian sausage, casings removed
- 1 onion, diced
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 2 russet potatoes (no need to peel), cut in half, those halves cut in half long-ways, and sliced into thin pieces
- 2 pinches red pepper flakes
- 4 cups chicken stock
- 4 cups 2% milk
- 1 bunch kale (about 2 1/2 packed cups), fibrous stems removed, leaves cut into bite sized pieces
- Heat a large pot over high heat
- Remove sausage from its casings and add to the pot with a little olive oil. Season with salt and pepper
- Break up with a spoon and brown in the pot
- Meanwhile, dice your onion and garlic
- When the meat is partially browned, add the onion and garlic. Season with salt and pepper
- Stir together and let cook until the onions are translucent
- Add your potatoes and red pepper flakes – stir to combine
- Add your chicken stock and milk
- Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer
- Simmer for 10 minutes, or until your potato slices are tender when pierced with a knife
- In the last few minutes, skim the fat off the top of the soup with a spoon (some fat will release from the sausage – but it doesn’t take long at all to skim it off!)
- When your ten minutes are up, add your kale to the soup, stir to combine, and bring back to a simmer
- Simmer for a few more minutes so the kale can cook and soften a bit
- Season to taste with salt and pepper
- Serve and top each bowl with Parmesan cheese!
*This recipe is gluten free*
If you make this or any of my other recipes, be sure to Instagram it and hashtag #thegarlicdiaries!
In the mood for more yummy soups? Check these out: