I’m not a huge fan of Olive Garden. I find their food a bit mundane and not authentic enough. If I want really good Italian food, I want to go to a neighborhood joint where grandma is making fresh pasta, not a corporate restaurant group whose headquarters are based in Florida. However. Yes, there is a however. I like Olive Garden for two reasons: first, if you order a glass of wine, they fill the glass to the top. No joke. Order a glass of red and just watch your server gingerly carry it to table, trying not to let anything spill over the brim. The second reason I like Olive Garden is the famous soup, salad and breadsticks. In my opinion, it’s the best unlimited special of its kind. The breadsticks are average, but the salad is fresh and crisp, with a dressing is delicate with just a little bit of bite. Next comes the soup. Zuppa Toscana. It’s amazing. Creamy broth, Italian sausage, hearty greens and tender potatoes. The best part is, it’s a relatively simple recipe that I have learned how to make at home, so I don’t have to head over to Olive Garden every time a craving for Zuppa Toscana hits.
Homemade Zuppa Toscana
- 1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
- 1 pound spicy Italian sausage, casing removed
- 1 white onion, diced
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1 tsp. kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
- 3 – 4 cups kale, Swiss Chard or baby spinach, roughly chopped
- 4 cups chicken broth (low-sodium store bought or homemade)
- 3 russet potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
- 1 1/2 cups whole milk
- Add oil to a large soup pot over medium heat.
- Add Italian sausage and sauté 3 – 5 minutes, breaking it up as it cooks.
- Add onion, garlic, salt, pepper and greens. Sauté for about 5 minutes until onion is softened.
- Pour in broth and add the potatoes.
- Increase heat to high, bring to a boil and then reduce to simmer until potatoes are soft and tender, about 15 minutes.
- *At this point, the soup can be removed from the heat, cooled and refrigerated covered until ready to eat. When ready to eat, warm on the stove-top over medium heat. Stir in milk until hot throughout.*
- If eating right away, stir in milk until hot throughout, about 5 minutes.
- Taste, adjust seasonings as necessary and serve immediately.