Dec 21, 2011

Zuppa Toscana

This recipe is similar to the Olive Garden soup, but I've tweaked it a little...

1 lb. Italian sausage
1 1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
4 slices bacon
1 onion, diced
1 T. minced garlic
2-3 stalks celery (optional)
8 cups chicken broth
1 can white beans (2 cups cooked dried beans)
1 cup carrots, diced
2 cups milk (or 1 cup cream for thicker)
1/4 bunch kale leaves (or spinach)
salt to taste, if desired
  1. Cook the Italian sausage and red pepper flakes over medium-high heat until crumbly, browned, and no longer pink, 10 to 15 minutes. Drain and set aside.
  2. Cook the bacon over medium heat until crisp, about 10 minutes. Drain,  but reserve 2 T drippings. Stir in the onions, garlic and celery with the drippings; cook until onions are soft and translucent, about 5 minutes.
  3. Pour the chicken broth into the bacon and onion mixture; bring to a boil over high heat. Add the pwhite beans and carrots and boil until fork tender, about 20 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium and stir in the milk and cooked sausage; heat through. Mix the kale or spinach into the soup just before serving.               

*The original called for potatoes, but I prefer the change with beans and carrots. But this recipe is super flexible. It's mostly the bacon and sausage flavors that make the soup. Someone said they just add in milk with cornstarch for thickness, but I don't mind it thin. As long as you eat it with our good artisan bread!

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