Wednesday, October 21, 2009

What's Cooking Wednesday - My Olive Garden Copy

In my home town in Alabama, we have the crappiest Olive Garden known to mankind!! I don't think I have ever eaten there and then afterward said to myself "That was delicious and the service was excellent! I am glad I did this!" NEVER!!! I think I went 2 or 3 times before completely boycotting it altogether. I have been to other chains in other cities that I was impressed with. Having worked at an authentic Italian restaurant for several years during college, I am not a huge fan of their food but it was so close to our house in Texas, that it was super easy sometimes.

While I was pregnant, I was ADDICTED to their Zuppa Toscana! Notice the all caps in the word ADDICTED!! I had it for lunch several days a week with their breadsticks. I started to realize I had a problem and took a break for a while. I eventually relapsed and scoured the internet looking a copy recipe. After several failed attempts, I finally gave up. I eventually found one more that I thought I would try and it finally worked. It tasted so good. I love soups in the Fall and love to share those recipes because they freeze well and you can really feed a crowd or have alot of leftovers. I always love that! The next cold snap, you REALLY need to make this!

***My changes to the recipe are noted in italics.

Zuppa Toscana
  • 1 pound bulk mild Italian sausage **I used link Italian sausage and pulled off the casings.
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes
  • 4 slices bacon, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 5 (13.75 ounce) cans chicken broth
  • 6 potatos, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 bunch fresh spinach, tough stems removed **I used Kale because it held up better in the soup and didn't wilt right away. I highly recommend kale instead of spinach.
  1. Cook the Italian sausage and red pepper flakes in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat until crumbly, browned, and no longer pink, 10 to 15 minutes. Drain and set aside.
  2. Cook the bacon in the same Dutch oven over medium heat until crisp, about 10 minutes. Drain, leaving a few tablespoons of drippings with the bacon in the bottom of the Dutch oven. Stir in the onions and garlic; cook until onions are soft and translucent, about 5 minutes.
  3. Pour the chicken broth into the Dutch oven with the bacon and onion mixture; bring to a boil over high heat. Add the potatoes, and boil until fork tender, about 20 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium and stir in the heavy cream and the cooked sausage; heat through. Mix the spinach into the soup just before serving.


Anonymous said...

Brooke, you should really try their Chicken and Gocchi soup. It is the only thing that I eat there and they have the recipe for this on You can buy gnocchi at wal-mart now so this soup is super easy and to make my stock i boil my chicken in "better then boullion" with some celery and onion. I love, love , love this recipe!!!! If you try it let me know what you think.
Michelle Richardson Holland

Brooke said...

I haven't had gnocchi in years...but I am willing to try anything when it comes to soup. LOVE SOUP!!! I will have to try it and let you know. Thanks for the tip and thanks for stopping by!