A few weeks ago I was sitting at a restaurant off of one of our favorite ski trails (Lalapalooza at Sunday River, IYKYK). It was snowing, I was super chilly, and when I saw Zuppa Toscana on the menu it was all I wanted. When they put down a piping hot bowl of it in front of me, I was one happy girl.
It was so good I was craving it afterwards. So when my husband let me sneak off to our house to write the next weekend alone (I finally finished the ending to my novel! More on that later…), I cooked up a big pot of this Zuppa Toscana and sipped and slurped while I typed away the whole weekend. Toasted buttered bread for dunking was very necessary of course.
I love making classic dishes and falling in love with them, and being reminded that they are classic for a reason. The creamy broth still feels light and healthy with lots of garlic, and the potatoes and sausage are such a comfort combo. The kale absorbs all the flavor of the bacon and garlic and makes you feel so good. It has been so cold this week, and this soup is perfect for chilly spring nights.
I have to say I much prefer the hot, full fat sausage here. You can use sweet full fat sausage if your cooking for little people who don’t like spice but when I made a version with turkey sausage it was definitely missing something.
Also whenever I make soup, I always tend to use up the chicken broth container, so if you don’t love broth you can use 6 cups but if you don’t mind extra just use 8 cups or 2 containers. It’s so yummy to sip away on. This soup is one pot, under 30 minutes, and leftovers just get better each day.
I hope you try this to see how easy it is to feel like you’re in an Italian kitchen on a chilly spring night. It’s the perfect way to send off winter, and say hello to spring. Happy eating, xoxo Katie
4 strips thick-cut bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 pound sweet (or hot if preferred) Italian sausage, casings removed
4 to 5 large russet potatoes (about 2 1/2 pounds), peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 large white onion, diced
Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
6-8 cups chicken broth
6 cups curly kale, stems removed and leaves roughly chopped
3/4 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
- Cook the bacon in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until crisp, about 6 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate with a slotted spoon; set aside to drain. Add the Italian sausage to the drippings and cook, breaking it up with a wooden spoon, until browned and no longer pink, about 6 minutes. Transfer to the paper towel-lined plate to drain.
- Add the potatoes, garlic and onion to the drippings and cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly softened, 6 to 8 minutes. Season with the crushed red pepper flakes and salt and pepper. Add the chicken broth, increase the heat to high and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until the potatoes are tender and cooked through, 12 to 15 minutes.
- Add the kale, heavy cream, bacon and sausage and cook over medium heat until the kale is tender, another 5 minutes. Stir in the vinegar just before serving.