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Italian Zuppa, Gene Munson Barry's version.

Updated on February 24, 2014

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How this recipe by genemunsonbarry came about

A few years ago my daughter was at Olive Garden for dinner and she had their Zuppa. Liking it so much, she obtained a copy of their recipe. Well she was telling my wife and I about the zuppa and how she had gotten the recipe and gave me a copy. Well it was a delight, but I found that I wanted to make some changes and make my own version which my wife and I like much better.

Below, please find my version of the recipe along with photos to better show my steps in making this dish.

Zuppa finished ready to serve
Zuppa finished ready to serve | Source

Cook Time

Prep time: 1 hour
Cook time: 40 min
Ready in: 1 hour 40 min
Yields: 6 - 8 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. Italian sausage, ground
  • 1 1/2 tsp. Sweet red pepper, crushed
  • 1 Large white onion, diced
  • 4 tbsp. Bacon, pieces
  • 2 tsp. Garlic, puree
  • 10 C. Water, purified
  • 5 Cubes chicken, bouillon
  • 1 Cup cream
  • 1 lb. Potatoes, russet
  • 1/4 Kale, bunch

First ingredient

Sausage before I remove the casings. two are equal to one pound.
Sausage before I remove the casings. two are equal to one pound. | Source

Prepare the sausage

As my local store doesn't carry ground sausage, I usually purchase the link kind then remove the casing. This seems to work well for me. I find that two links usually weigh about a pound. I use mild or sweet Italian sausage because the dried red pepper gives the recipe enough heat for us.

Preparing the red pepper and bacon

Here I show how I prepare the pepper and bacon.
Here I show how I prepare the pepper and bacon. | Source

Prepare the bacon and sweet red pepper

This photo shows how I cut up the pepper and bacon. I usually keep my bacon frozen so, when I want to cut it up, it seems easier than trying to cut bacon that is thawed.

Here I show the bacon and red pepper cut and ready to use.
Here I show the bacon and red pepper cut and ready to use. | Source

Prepare and cook the ingredients

  1. Saute the Italian Sausage and red pepper. Drain excess fat in your colander. I do this over a bowl in my sink to retain the fat and not let it clog up my sewer lines.My local store doesn't carry ground sausage so I buy the Italian links, and remove the casings. I have found that two of the links are equivalent to the 1 pound that this calls for.
  2. The original recipe for the Tuscan soup calls for more hot red droed pepper than we find pleasing so I only add a slight amount to our taste. I do, however, I added the sweet red pepper diced into 1/4 inch chunks to add color. This red pepper makes for a nice contrasting color in the zuppa.

Saute sausage and red pepper

While preparing the potatoes I saute the sausage and red pepper.
While preparing the potatoes I saute the sausage and red pepper. | Source

Sausage sauteing with red pepper

As the sausage and red pepper saute I peel the potatoes and dice them, ready to boil.

Drain excess fat

Here I drain the fat from the bacon.
Here I drain the fat from the bacon. | Source

Draining excess fat

Here I show how I use my smallest colander to drain the excess fat from the sauteed saucage, and pepper mix.

Preparing the potatoes

Here I show peeling the potatoes in readiness to boiling them.
Here I show peeling the potatoes in readiness to boiling them. | Source

Prepare the potatoes

Here while the sausage is cooking I use the time to peel and prepare the potatoes.

Dice potatoes

I dice the potatoes before I boil them, allowing them to soften faster.
I dice the potatoes before I boil them, allowing them to soften faster. | Source

Next I peel the potatoes and dice them into approximately half inch cubes. Then placing them in a medium pot of water as they require time to be boiled to soften them.

Place the pot of potatoes on the stove burner with the burner on high in order to bring them to a boil.

I find that covering the pot allows it to boil much faster due to a loss of heat through evaporation caused when the water starts to evaporate as it heats.

I use red potatoes quite often as my wife and I enjoy their flavor sometimes. White potatoes work just as well as the red. your choice,
I use red potatoes quite often as my wife and I enjoy their flavor sometimes. White potatoes work just as well as the red. your choice, | Source

Peeling the potatoes

Lots of people peel their potatoes in the sink. I find that by peeling them right over the trash I save a step by not having to clean the skins from the sink later.

Potatoes peeled and ready to dice

Here I have the potatoes peeled ready to be diced.
Here I have the potatoes peeled ready to be diced. | Source

Dice Potatoes

Source

Potatoes peeled ready to dice

After I have the potatoes peeled I usually run them under water in the sink to confirm that they are clean and ready to dice. I place the rinsed potatoes on a towel to absorb the excess water as it drains off.

Dicing the peeled potatoes

I have a favorite knife that I keep sharpened to a razor sharp edge. This knife was my wife's fathers and holds an edge like no other knife I have ever come across. I love it !

Measure potatoes

Here I use a plastic cutting board to dice the potatoes.
Here I use a plastic cutting board to dice the potatoes. | Source

After I have diced the potatoes

After I have diced the potatoes I use a quart measuring cup to measure out 4 cups (usually mounding the potatoes).

Add water to potatoes

Here I'm adding water to the diced potatoes to boil them.
Here I'm adding water to the diced potatoes to boil them. | Source

Add water to boil potatoes.

After I have diced and measured the potatoes I place them in a medium pot of water to boil them.

Cover the pot

Potatoes boiling on the stove.
Potatoes boiling on the stove. | Source

Cover the pot

I cover the pot while boiling to keep the evaporation at a minimum which also draws heat from the pot.

Drain the water

After the potatoes have cooked sufficiently, carefully drain the water off, being careful to not burn yourself in the steam.

Add Broth

Add chicken broth and begin heating it to a boil.
Add chicken broth and begin heating it to a boil. | Source

Add broth

The original zuppa recipe calls for water and bouillon cubes. We don't like bouillon so I always use chicken broth instead. We like the flavor much better. In a large pot, pour the chicken broth and begin heating it.

Chop the Kale

I'm cutting the kale into small pieces.
I'm cutting the kale into small pieces. | Source

As the broth heats

As the broth heats I use the spare time to prepare the Kale by cutting it into small pieces.

Add Potatoes

Add the potatoes.
Add the potatoes. | Source

Add potatoes

Being careful so that you do not splash begin adding the ingredients. I usually add the potatoes first, then the remainder of the ingredients: red pepper flakes, sweet red pepper pieces, bacon, sausage, and heavy cream.

Add cream

The last ingredient I add is heavy cream.
The last ingredient I add is heavy cream. | Source

Cream

The recipe calls for heavy cream. I usually purchase the heavy whipping kind of cream to provide a much richer finished texture and flavor. If calories and far are an issues for you, substitute half and half or whole cream.


Be Careful

After you add the heavy whipping cream be careful to not allow the mixture to boil as this would make the cream curdle.

Finished Zuppa

Zuppa all finished ready to serve.
Zuppa all finished ready to serve. | Source

Serving the zuppa in individual servings

Here I show myself dishing up an individual serving for my wife and myself. We find this soup rich enough that it serves as an entree. You could serve it as an appetizer....or add bread or crackers on the side to make it a bigger entree.

Dishing up a single serving each for my wife and myself.
Dishing up a single serving each for my wife and myself. | Source

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Nutrition

Kale is a cruciferous vegetable and they are considered some of the healthiest vegetables to add to your diet. Kale is super high in vitamins K, A and C and in the mineral manganese. It is full of other vitamins and minerals and is considered good for your heart and preventative against cancer.

Comments

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    • Just Ask Susan profile image

      Susan Zutautas 3 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      I'm salivating and can't wait to try your Zuppa. I know that from the list of ingredients my entire family will like this. Pinning so that I can easily find your recipe. Voting +++ and sharing.

    • VVanNess profile image

      Victoria Van Ness 3 years ago from Prescott Valley

      This looks delicious! This is one of my favorite soups at Olive Garden. I love that I can now make it on my own! Thanks!

    • Mr. Happy profile image

      Mr. Happy 3 years ago from Toronto, Canada

      Pretty awesome hub!! : )

      I will definitely try this and it's great how You took photos at every stage of your cooking. A very inspiring hub for me personally since cooking is something I love doing (yet, I have never wrote a hub about cooking ... I think I will soon).

      Cheers! (Sharing.)

      P.S. Great tip here too: "After you add the heavy whipping cream be careful to not allow the mixture to boil as this would make the cream curdle." : )

    • flash167 profile image

      Marty Andersen 3 years ago from Richfield, Utah

      That's my favorite Olive Garden soup! I can't wait to try our your version of the recipe.

    • Mr. Happy profile image

      Mr. Happy 3 years ago from Toronto, Canada

      I just finished your soup. It's really yummy!! : )

      Gonna share this article again, people should really try making it.

      All the best!

    • Spirit Whisperer profile image

      Xavier Nathan 3 years ago from Isle of Man

      If Mr Happy says it's good then I am definitely going to give this one a try. Thank you.

    • GeneMunsonBarry profile image
      Author

      Gene Munson Barry 3 years ago from Westfield

      To Mr Happy: Another reason to not allow the soup boil is because it will make the clam touh.

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