Thursday, April 28, 2011

Zuppa Toscana

Olive Garden's image
Seattle's food culture pretty much set me on a course of never wanting to eat at chain food restaurants.  But about once a year, I still get a hankering for Olive Garden's bottomless salad and soup combo.  This recipe is supposed to rival the Zuppa Toscana, which is always my first soup of choice.  I ended up making several changes, so you can find the original here if you really want to go for the taste test.  I thought my batch was still delicious.

1 pound Italian sausage
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 large white onion, diced
4 slices bacon chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
7 cups chicken broth
1 1/2 cups whole milk
6 smallish new potatoes, cut into bite-sized chunks
4 cups baby spinach
Salt and pepper, to taste

In a medium skillet, saute the Italian sausage with the red pepper flakes. Drain excess fat, set aside.  

In a large soup pot, saute the bacon. When the bacon is half way cooked,  add the onions and garlic. Saute until the onions are tender-about 5 minutes.  Add the chicken broth. Bring to a boil.  Add the potatoes, reduce to a simmer, and cook until soft, about 15 minutes.  Add in the milk and sausage and cook until the soup is heated.  Stir in the spinach. Season with salt and pepper.  Serve hot.
Serves 8

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