Italian Potato Soup
TASTE'S LIKE OLIVE GARDENS'S ZUPPA TOSCANA!
When ever I go to eat at the Olive Garden Restaurant I always order the soup and salad special. The soup I always order because I love it so much is the Zuppa Toscana, an Italian potato soup. One day I decided to see if I could recreate this soup at home. I think my version tastes just like Olive Garden's soup, try it and see what you think.
This soup is very easy to make and takes less than an hour from start to finish. With only 5 ingredients plus water it's easy on your pocket book too.
Prep Time: about 15-20 minutes
Total Time: about 45 minutes
Serves: 6-8 depending on whether it's a 1st course in a meal or the main dish
- 1 pound Italian sausage, I use the ground, loose sausage, not the links
- 1 onion chopped
- 3 -5 pounds of new red skinned potatoes sliced thin
- 1 twelve ounce can evaporated milk
- 1 small bunch of kale, sliced into thin ribbons
- Brown the sausage in the soup pot, add chopped onion and stir together. Turn heat down and put lid on pot and let cook until onions are soft, stirring occasionally.
- While the sausage and onion are cooking, thinly slice the potatoes (no need to peel new potatoes, they have a very thin skin). When the onions are soft, add the potatoes and stir. Add about 6 cups or 1 1/2 quarts of water. Bring to a boil, then turn down to simmer for about 20-30 minutes (until potatoes are soft enough to break up when stirring)
- Stir in the can of milk. Slice the kale leaves thinly (skip the stems, they are tough). Add the kale and stir together. Dish it up!
- Serving suggestions, sprinkle with grated Parmesan, Romano or Peccorino cheese, add salt and pepper to taste. Serve with crusty bread and a big green salad.
You Need Heavy Bottom Stockpot!
While a heavy bottomed stock pot is not absolutely essential to making my Italian Potato Soup they are a joy to cook in. Having an extra thick bottom means the heat is distributed more evenly and it is less likely to scorch the contents. This one is similar to the one I use for making soup which I've owned about 25 years now!
Stainless steel is the way to go for all of your pots and pans. Stainless does not react with the acid in food like other metals, it does not give off poisonous gases like teflon and other coatings do, even if you scorch it. In fact even if you burn food onto it, you can clean it up good as new with a little elbow grease. And you don't have to worry about scratching a special coating. In my opinion stainless steel (and cast iron) are the only things to cook in!
How to Make my Italian Potato Soup
Step by Step
This is a really easy soup to make as you will see from the photos. Great for beginner cooks.
First, brown the sausage in the soup pot.
While the sausage is beginning to brown, chop up a big onion.
Add the onion to the sausage and stir together. Lower the heat and put the lid on the pot. Cook until the onion is soft.
While you are waiting for the onion to get cooked, slice the potatoes. You want about 1/8 inch thick slices, but don't stress if they are thicker, they will just take a little longer to cook. If you grow your own potatoes and have really tiny ones that won't keep long, you could just toss them in whole or cut in half. Don't worry though if your potatoes are big and make big slices. When they are cooked they will break into smaller pieces, so don't worry about making them bite sized now.
The onions and sausage are cooked; most of the onions are soft and a few are beginning to go transparent.
Now add the sliced potatoes. I used about three pounds for this batch. You can use up to 5 pounds (if you have a bigger pot) for this amount of sausage. (This is my 6 quart stock pot)
I added about 1 1/2 quarts of water, which would be 6 cups. If you used more potatoes you would want a little more water. The trick is don't use too much water, with the potatoes in thin slices they are going to cook quickly and the new potatoes do not absorb as much water as regular potatoes do.
Turn the heat up and put the lid on the pot. Bring the soup up to a boil, then turn it down to a slow simmer. Let it simmer for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. When the potatoes break up easily from pressure of the stirring spoon, they are done. Keep the heat on low and pour in the can of milk. If you don't have any canned milk you could use fresh (about 1 1/2 cups). I am just used to using canned milk in a lot of my cooking instead of fresh milk.
When the potatoes are done, slice the bunch of kale into thin ribbons. I do this by sort of rolling the bunch firmly together and being slicing through the whole bundle from the tips of the leaves towards the stems. When I get to the thick part of the stems I quit. I just want the leaves in the soup because the stems are thick and can be a bit tough.
Add the kale and stir it in. It will only take a minute or so for the kale leaves to be cooked and turn a bright green. Turn off the heat and serve.
Yummy, your own bowl of Italian Potato Soup! Serve it up with a sprinkle of Parmesan, Peccorino or other hard dry Italian cheese on top with salt and pepper to taste. With a big green salad and some crusty bread this makes a great meal. Buon appetito! (Enjoy your meal!)
Which is Better? Metal or Teflon?
Well I think you can see from my previous comments that I am strictly a cast iron and stainless steel kind of gal; but what do you like to cook in?
What do you like better?
I make a lot of soup in the winter of all kinds; how about you?