Monday, February 25, 2013

Zuppa Toscana

I haven't been blogging much lately because the bun in my oven has an aversion to any form of cooking.  Attempting to find new recipes to try has been leaving me green around the gills. Fortunately, now that the first trimester is several weeks behind me and I am starting to see the the end of the morning sickness train.

This Olive Garden inspired recipe is an oldie but a goodie.  Although I'm not a huge Olive Garden fan, I do love their Zuppa Toscana and bread sticks.  This simple sausage and potato concoction has the power to warm my soul and make me a happier camper.  The addition of spinach makes me feel like I'm eating something healthy even if it's more of an indulgence.

This is my version and I realize that it is not exactly like the one you get at the Olive Garden.  Like most recipes on my blog, it has been altered to suit my families tastes.  Served up with a crusty loaf of bread and a side salad, zuppa toscana gets great reviews around our home.  The empty bowls and pot speak for themselves.

*At the bottom of the recipe I have included low-fat substitutions which I have used at times with much success.  My only suggestion is that if you use low fat or fat free half and half instead of the whipping cream, take great care to make sure the mixture is does not boil.  The lack of fat makes it more likely to curdle in your soup.  It will taste fine, but won't be as pretty. 
6 slices of bacon
16 oz Italian Sausage
8 thinly sliced red potatoes
1 1/2 c onion, chopped
3 cloves minced garlic
3-4 c spinach, chopped
8 c chicken broth
2/3 c heavy whipping cream
pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)
  1. Fry bacon, drain on paper towels and crumble. Set aside.
  2. Clean out bacon skillet, crumble and cook sausage.  Drain on paper towels.
  3. In a large pot, saute onions in 1-2 tablespoons olive oil over medium-low heat until soft.  Add garlic and cook one minute more. 
  4. Add chicken broth and potatoes or until potatoes are tender.  Simmer 10-15 minutes.  
  5. Stir in sausage, bacon, spinach, cayenne pepper and whipping cream.  Heat through, but do not boil.
*Lighter variation- Use turkey bacon, Italian turkey sausage links, and fat free half instead of whipping cream.  Be careful not to boil with half and half because it will curdle. 


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