Saturday, January 15, 2011

Zupa Toscana

Olive Garden Style

Here we go…my very first recipe post. I chose to post Zupa Toscana because this is a favorite in my house. This recipe is worthy to be posted! This soup comes from my and my husband’s favorite Italian restaurant we love to eat at, Olive Garden. A long time ago Olive Garden had the recipe to Zupa Toscana posted on their web site, I believe it is not there any more. Lucky for me, my cousin had the recipe and passed it down to me. I have been making this soup for the past 2 ½ years and have figured out how we prefer this soup best. I mentioned bellow in the recipe that the original Zupa Toscana has rustic potatoes with skin on. I prefer the skin off so I just peel my potatoes. You can do what you like, maybe even try both way and see what you like best. Also, depending on your liking, if you prefer thick soup, cut the potatos thinner, that way they will shatter as they boil, if you like liquidy soup with chunks of potato, cut the potatoes thicker, that way they don’t shatter. Another thing I have learned is that the kind of bacon you use matters. Lucky for us we have a Slovakian gentleman that has a deli meat market near us. He makes fresh home smoked bacon, and cuts the slices what ever thickness we desire. If you can’t find some good fresh smocked bacon, use grocery bacon, just get the thickest kind you can find. I hope you try this recipe, it’s not difficult and taste like you worked hours on it. If you do try this out, let me know what you think! Happy Cooking!

8 medium rustic style potatoes cut into ¼ cubes
1 large onion or 2 small to medium size, diced
7 slices of thick naturally smocked bacon, diced
1 pound ground Italian sausage (mild or spicy what ever you prefer)
32 oz. chicken broth
2 ½ cups whole milk
2 tsp. garlic minced
bunch of kale
salt and pepper to taste
Optional: chile flakes

1. You can either go traditional and keep the potato skins on the potatoes, in this case you would have to wash the potatoes thoroughly before cutting. I prefer my soup and potatoes skinless, so I went ahead and peeled them.
 2. Next you want to cut the potatoes in fourths. Fairly thin if you like your soup thick and dense (the potatoes will shatter a bit while boiling) If you prefer your soup soupier with bigger chunks, go ahead and cut the potatoes chunkier. (My husband prefers the soup thick, so I cut thinner slices)

3. Place your cut potatoes in a pot, cover just above the potato level with water, put on stove to boil.

4. As the potatoes are boiling, take the bacon and start cutting them in small cubes. (it helps if the bacon is slightly frozen)

5. Place in a frying pan. Before you start to fry, get the onions ready.

6. Peel the onions, and dice in small cubes. Set aside.

7. Start frying bacon, make sure to fry until the bacon is crisp.
8. Add the onions to the bacon bits.


9. Add the garlic, and fry until the onion gets soft and tender 


10.  Add the bacon, onion, garlic mix to the pot of potatoes. 
11.  Add the whole container of chicken broth to the pot.

12. You can start to fry the Italian sausage.

13. Add the cooked Italian sausage to the pot
14. Add the whole milk

15. Wash and cut the kale
16. Add kale to the soup after seasoning with salt and pepper

17. My favorite part, eat with a slice of garlic butter toast, you can also sprinkle some parmesano regano cheese on top of the soup. Enjoy!


  1. Magda, This looks absolutely delicious! I like your variation of using milk.. I need to give it a try sometime. My husband loves sausage AND this sounds like a great combination:)! Thank you for the recipe.
    Wishing you a great day! ~Ellie

  2. Ellie~
    I really do hope you try this is a Romanian favorite in my community. It’s so tasty I think you and your husband will love it!