If one were to question whether Winter had arrived yet in Georgia, they need not question it any longer! It was frigid and down-right freezing here over the weekend and we saw snow fly!
Now, being a "Yankee" myself, snow and frigid temperatures are nothing out of the ordinary for me at this time of year (especially since my family has already seen blizzard-like conditions where they live). But when you live in the South, especially getting down past Tennessee and Kentucky, you would expect that you've escaped that horrible weather! Well let me assure you...that's a big fat NO!
But what is December without being a little cold and seeing Mother Nature's frozen little stars falling from the sky?! And what better way to celebrate weather like that than to curl up to a nice bowl of homemade soup?! I'll do you one better, how about a nice bowl of Zuppa Tuscana from Olive Garden?! And even better than that...a bowl of Zuppa Toscana homemade from your own kitchen!
Olive Garden: home of the infamous soup, salad and breadsticks special. One that I know I officially partook in plenty of times at lunch gatherings! As always, I feasted on the yummy salad with homemade Italian dressing, buttery garlic breadsticks and piping hot Zuppa Toscana with chunks of potatoes, spicy sausage and fresh kale in a creamy broth....YUM! Seriously, if you've never tried it, you must go and get some. Now! I really mean now!!!
Surprisingly, Chris had never had it, but that's because when he goes to Olive Garden, he orders pasta. Hmmm...who would've thought?! So to my delight, he was pleasantly surprised after trying this hearty soup and even took some for lunch today! As one of my definite favorites, this soup will surely be greeted with big open arms in our house again (probably sooner than we think)!
1 lb. Italian Sausage
8 slices Bacon, chopped
4 cups Water
2 cups Chicken Broth
2 Lg. Potatoes (Yukon, Russet, Baking, etc.), cubed
1 Med. Onion, diced
4 cloves Garlic, minced
2 cups Kale, chopped
1 cup Heavy Cream
Salt to taste
Pepper to taste
1/2 Tsp. Red Pepper Flakes (optional)
In a large pot, crumble the sausage and brown over medium heat. Add in the bacon and cook, stirring frequently, until browned; drain the grease from the pot.
Add in the water, chicken broth, potatoes, onion and garlic. Cook over medium heat until simmering; let simmer until the potatoes are fork-tender (about 10-15 minutes).
Add in the kale, cream, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes; stir until combined and cook until heated through. Serve immediately.
Note: The red pepper flakes definitely add a bit of heat to the soup, so use sparingly if you prefer less or omit altogether.
Yield: 4-6 Servings
Source: Adapted from Joelen's Culinary Adventures, originally from America's Most Wanted Recipes