Italian Zuppa, Gene Munson Barry's version.
Rate my Zuppa by GeneMunsonBarry
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.
- 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
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
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.
Prepare and cook the ingredients
- 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.
- 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
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
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
Prepare the potatoes
Here while the sausage is cooking I use the time to peel and prepare the potatoes.
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.
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
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 !
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
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
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.
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
As the broth heats
As the broth heats I use the spare time to prepare the Kale by cutting it into small pieces.
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.
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.
After you add the heavy whipping cream be careful to not allow the mixture to boil as this would make the cream curdle.
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.
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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.