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Zuppa Toscana

I made this soup the other night and it was DELICIOUS!!

The soup is a knock-off of Olive Garden's, but I think mine was way better. It has so much flavor and the texture is great and it really warms you up from the inside. Both Kyle and I were all hot after we finished eating dinner.

I adapted the recipe from one I found on allrecipes.com. I'll post the basic version and my changes in italics. My version is spicy, so if you're not big on spicy food then I suggest using regular ground sausage and adding pepper/red pepper flakes/etc. as your taste allows.

Zuppa Toscana (Tuscan Soup)

* 12 links spicy pork sausage, sliced 1 lb ground spicy pork sausage
* 1 tablespoon vegetable oil no oil
* 3/4 cup diced onion about 1/3 of a yellow onion, diced
* 1 1/4 teaspoons minced garlic I didn't measure; used about 4 cloves
* 2 tablespoons chicken soup base 4 c. chicken broth
* 4 cups water 1 c. water
* 2 potatoes, halved and sliced 5 potatoes, sliced then quartered
* 2 cups sliced kale 1 c. chopped fresh spinach - kale couldn't be found in our grocery store
* 1/3 cup heavy cream 2/3 cup heavy cream since I added so much chicken broth
* I also added corn starch for thickening


1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F (150 degrees C).
2. Place sausage links on a baking sheet and bake 25 minutes, or until cooked through. Slice into 1/2 inch slices.
3. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Saute onions until translucent; add garlic and cook 1 minute.
4. Stir in broth, water and potatoes; simmer 15 minutes.
5. Reduce heat to low and add sausage, kale and cream; simmer until heated through and serve.

My directions
1. In a large saucepan or dutch oven, cook the sausage into crumbles until no longer pink. Add onions and garlic and saute until onion is translucent. I sprinkled on some Mediterranean Spice mix at this point, just for the fragrance and taste. It's the McCormick's brand.. In a Pinch or something..
2. Add chicken broth and water, bring to a boil then turn down to a simmer for 10-15 minutes.
3. Toss in potatoes and cook on medium for 15 minutes or until potatoes are fork-tender.
4. Remove some of the liquid with a ladle; in a separate bowl mix in a few tablespoons of cornstarch with the liquid and stir. Pour back into the main pot and stir well to incorporate.
5. Add heavy cream and heat through.
6. Turn off heat and stir in spinach until it wilts. Serve immediately with shredded parm (or the Italian Cheese blend), a crusty bread and white wine (if you're so inclined).