A constant favorite at Olive Garden this one-pot, hearty soup is perfect to make at home. While it does have a good number of different steps, the fact that you can do it in one pot makes for a delicious, easy meal that is not only super filling but nourishing as well.
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Zuppa Toscana is one of the most popular Italian-American dishes served in North America, primarily because of its association with the chain restaurant, Olive Garden.
Famed for its richness and meatiness, this simple soup recipe is actually quite different from its Italian counterpart.
While the soup’s name just means “Tuscan Soup,” the original version is more of a vegetable soup enriched with bread, and only sometimes contains rigatino, a type of bacon regional to Tuscany.
Made in the fashion popularized by Olive Garden, however, it is absolutely packed with cream, sausage, and potatoes, as well as a heaping amount of Parmesan and onions.
While this version might not be the most authentic Italian meal to ever be created, it is still super filling and satisfying, capable of feeding an entire family all from one pot!
Tips For Removing Sausages From Casings
Whenever you need to cook with sausages, there is always going to be that immediate problem of needing to remove sausage meat from its casing.
While you could get packets of plain sausage meat and flavor it yourself, it is far easier to just buy a pack of Italian sausages and then work out how to get the meat out.
The easiest way to quickly and simply remove the sausage from the casing is to run a sharp, thin knife down the side of the casing on each sausage, one after another.
Once you’ve made your cut, just peel the casing off of each sausage by hand, removing them carefully and taking care to not accidentally squish the sausages together into one big lump.
Make sure you don’t leave behind the little knots of casing that interlink between each sausage – they can become stuck in the meat and don’t break down in the soup, leading to a surprisingly chewy bite for an unsuspecting diner.
Just throw away those leftover skins, as they don’t really have any use.
Can You Use Low-Fat Cream To Cut Calories?
In pretty much any recipe involving the use of heavy cream, there is always the inevitable question of whether or not you can substitute the heavy cream for regular cream, or even low-fat cream.
Well, subbing low-fat alternatives is certainly always an option, but it is important to remember that fat generally equals flavor.
While you could absolutely swap lower-fat alternatives for heavy cream, the whole soup will obviously taste just a little bit less intensely delicious.
So just keep in mind that you might want to up any seasonings you use as a way to help compensate for the flavor loss from the lack of fat.
Or, you could just consider this meal as a bit of a cheat meal, and enjoy it – as long as you don’t eat too much as a portion, it really shouldn’t be that bad.
Could You Use Frozen Spinach?
This recipe calls for the use of around 4-5 cups of fresh spinach, which requires roughly chopping each leaf, as well as removing all of its stems.
However, you could always utilize some frozen spinach instead.
Frozen spinach is not only a lot cheaper than fresh spinach, but it is also a ton more convenient than having to deal with a big pile of fresh spinach.
Instead of needing to laboriously chop and prepare heaping handfuls of green leaves, you can just defrost the necessary amount of spinach cubes and throw that in instead.
How To Serve Zuppa Toscana
This soup is obviously best served in a bowl, but exactly what kind of bowl and what you should serve it in is entirely up to you.
If you can’t decide, however, here are a few good serving suggestions.
- Bread Rolls
An obvious accompaniment to this soup is a good bread roll, the crustier the better – anything that can easily soak up all any leftovers at the bottom of the bowl.
- Serve In A Bread Bowl
Though this is a bit of a more difficult thing to make yourself, a good bread bowl can not only totally replace the bowl to hold your soup, but also provides a ton of that soggy, enriched bread all the way through your meal.
- Small Serving Of Pasta
Though a bit more unorthodox, a small serving of well-boiled pasta can add a nice bit of starchiness to your soup – you could even add it directly into the soup instead!
- Flavored Bread
Everything can be improved by a bit of garlic bread, especially this soup; if you really want to commit to a high-calorie meal, why not go all the way and go for cheesy bread instead?
Looking for more delicious Italian-themed Soup recipes? Try these out:
• Italian Turkey Macaroni Soup
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- Prep Time
- 10 minutes
- Cook Time
- 45 minutes
- Karlynn Johnston
- 1 pound Italian sausage (mild or medium)
- 6 slices bacon (sliced into 1/2 inch pieces)
- 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (or more to taste)
- 1 cup onion (diced small)
- 5 cloves garlic (minced or pressed)
- 9-10 Cups chicken broth
- 4 medium potatoes (sliced 1/4 inch thick)
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 4-5 cups fresh spinach chopped 9tough stems removed)
- ½ cup fresh grated Parmesan (for topping)
- Remove the sausage from the casings. In a dutch oven on medium high heat cook the sausage until crumbly and no longer pink for about 10-15 minutes. Drain any fat and set aside in a separate bowl
- Add the bacon to the dutch oven and cook over medium high heat until crisp, remove the bacon but leave 2-3 tablespoons of bacon drippings in the pan. Add in the diced onions and garlic to the bacon drippings and saute until soft, about 5-6 minutes.
- Add the chicken broth and bring it to a boil over high heat. Add in the sliced potatoes and continue to simmer until the potatoes are fork tender about 14-16 minutes.
- Reduce to medium heat and add in the chopped spinach, cooked sausage and the heavy cream. Add in the cooked bacon but reserve 2-3 tablespoons for toppings.
- Bring to a light simmer and until the spinach has wilted and is tender.
- Serve in bowls topped with the reserved bacon bits and grated Parmesan.
All calories and info are based on a third party calculator and are only an estimate. Actual nutritional info will vary with brands used, your measuring methods, portion sizes and more.