October 17, 2009

Olive Garden-like Zuppa Tuscana

Or something like that. I like to serve this with breadsticks and salad and pretend we're eating out. Maybe I should tip myself....

1 lb. ground Italian sausage - mild or spicy, your preference. I can only find the links so I remove the casings and chop it up
1 large diced onion
2 cloves garlic, minced or about 2 tsp. minced garlic from the jar
1 quart water
2 cans chicken broth (14.5 oz each) OR 3 2/3 c. homemade chicken broth OR the equivalent in bouillon
2 or 3 large Russet potatoes, peeled and sliced (Yukon Gold works too)
1 c. heavy cream (the whipping kind works well as does evaporated milk)
2 cups or so chopped Kale or Swiss Chard
4 tbsp. real bacon bits (or a few strips cooked bacon)
salt and pepper to taste

Brown sausage, breaking into small pieces. Drain and set aside. Meanwhile, place onions, potatoes, chicken broth, water and garlic in a large pot. Cook on medium heat until potatoes are done, about 20 to 30 minutes. Add sausage, bacon bits, salt and pepper to taste and simmer another 10 minutes. Turn to low heat and add kale and cream. Heat through. I've made this with turkey sausage and it tastes just as wonderful.

To make this dairy-free, don't add the heavy cream.  We've eaten it this way many times (in fact, just tonight) and it tastes just as lovely.

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