When is the last time you had a meal at Olive Garden? I can’t really remember the last time…its been that long. However, I do know whenever I have been there, I have to order this soup. Gah…it’s so delicious.
Making this is always deadly at my house because it’s so easy to eat more than you should. It’s so hard to stop getting a third bowl….but really, it gets excessive.
The soup is creamy and not overly thick. There are so many potatoes in here you don’t really want it any thicker. It’s creamy, flavorful and has a kick to it.
There are tons of copycat versions out there for this Zuppa Toscana, but I’m telling you this one is the best…even better than Olive garden’s…in my opinion. You just need to try it. Trust me.
Enjoy it! Wishing I had a bread stick to dip in it.
Olive Garden Zuppa Toscana Copycat Recipe
- 1 lb bacon
- 1 lb ground, mild Italian sausage
- 1 large shallot, finely diced
- 32 oz chicken stock (this has more flavor than broth)
- 2-1/4 pounds russet baking potatoes, skins scrubbed clean and sliced*
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes**
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt (more to taste)
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 1/2 cup instant mashed potato flakes
- 4 cups baby kale leaves
- In a large, heavy-bottomed pot (I used my 7 quart Dutch oven), fry the bacon until it is crisp. Remove from pan and place on a paper-towel lined plate. Drain the fat from the pan. When cooled, crumble it into pieces. Set aside.
- In the same pan (without wiping it clean), add the Italian sausage in clumps to the pan at medium heat. Don't spend time rolling the sausage into balls, but you do want it to fry in little clumps. I just toss little clumps onto the hot surface and stir as necessary until browned. Remove to a paper-towel lined plate. Drain fat, reserving about 1/2 a Tablespoon in the pan.
- Over medium-low heat, saute shallot until softened; 2-3 minutes. Add chicken stock, potatoes, red pepper flakes and salt. Bring to a boil and simmer about 10-15 minutes, until potatoes are softened. Stir in crumbled bacon and sausage. Turn off heat and stir in cream and instant mashed potato flakes (for a little thickness). Add kale and stir in until slightly wilted. Taste to make any salt adjustments. Serve immediately.
- *I left the skins on my potatoes and sliced them legthwise (2x) until I had four long quarters. Then I sliced those four pieces crosswise. Ultimately, each potato slice looked like a pizza slice, if that makes sense. Make sure the slices are the same thickness for even cooking.
- **The red pepper flakes give this soup a nice kick. If your concerned about spice, start with a 1/4 teaspoon and keep adding until you've reached your desired spice level.
- Cooking Notes: When you use instant mashed potatoes as a thickener, it's easy to go to overdo it. All of a sudden your soup turns into mashed potatoes. I would suggest sticking with the amount suggested in my recipe.
- I always get asked if something can be frozen. I personally do not like to freeze anything potato based. If you try it, let us know in the comments how it was after reheating.
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