Word on the street is there’s this soup at Olive Garden called Zuppa Toscana that has a huge cult following. I’ve never had it, but my neighbor made a copycat batch for me recently and I’ve been obsessing about it (and messing with it) since then.
This Tuscan style soup is a cold weather powerhouse, full of rich, hearty flavors. The broth is like a light but creamy chowder, and with every spoonful you get bites of potato, kale, white beans, and sausage. The bacon, garlic, white wine, tomato paste, and seasoning in the sausage (fennel!) back the whole thing up.
This is a pretty easy soup to make. Yes, there are a number of steps but nothing is tricky, assuming you can pour and stir. The whole recipe takes less than an hour including prep time, which I do simultaneously as each step is going. You could certainly prep and measure everything ahead of time, see instructions for my notes on which things I prep as I go along.
Shave some Parmesan on top to serve and don’t forget bread – this is the PERFECT soup for bread dipping!
Tuscan Style Soup (Zuppa Toscana)
- 6 cups chicken stock
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1/4 cup white wine
- 1 lb Italian sausage
- 1 yellow onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 large or 4 small peeled and sliced potatoes, I prefer Yukon Gold
- 2 TBS tomato paste
- 1 can of white beans, such as cannellini or navy beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 bunch of Kale, sliced into ribbons, I prefer Lacinato
- 6 slices of bacon
- 1/4 tsp cayenne or large pinch of chili flakes
In a large pot over medium high, cook the bacon until crispy then remove to a paper-towel lined plate and when cool, break into smaller pieces.
Once the bacon is done, add the sausage to the pot and brown, cooking until there is no longer any pink showing. Use your spoon to break the sausage up into smaller pieces.
Remove the sausage to a cutting board and set aside while you then turn the heat to medium and add the onions, stirring to scrape up any brown bits from the pan.
While the onions are cooking for approx. 5-6 minutes, chop the sausage until all the meat is in smaller crumbles, rather than big chunks. During this time I also peel and slice the potatoes.
Add the garlic, cayenne pepper or chili flakes, salt and pepper, stirring, just until the garlic becomes fragrant, about 30 seconds.
Add the tomato paste, stirring to combine.
Add the white wine and allow it to reduce for 2-3 minutes.
Add the sausage and potatoes to the pot, then add the chicken stock and turn the heat up to high and bring it to a boil.
Once boiling, reduce the heat to a strong simmer and cook until the potatoes are just fork tender, about 15 minutes. While this is happening, I rinse and drain the beans and chop the kale.
Add the beans and kale to the pot, followed by the heavy cream, and cook for just about 5 more minutes.
Top with bacon (or stir all the bacon in) and serve!