Not From Concentrate

Zuppa Toscana


zuppa toscana

This soup came into my kitchen in something of an embarrassing way. My sister in law Pinkey and I were at my mom’s house looking for something to make for lunch. I found a some ground beef in the freezer and decided on tacos! We got all the stuff together and Pinkey started cutting lettuce as I was warming up the beef. I was pulling out cumin and pepper from the pantry when I started to smell the faintly sweet meaty scent of Italian breakfast meat wafting through the kitchen, and I realized that I hadn’t been cooking ground beef, but it was ground italian sausage! It even said so on the bag but I didn’t notice as I got super excited for tacos.

We laughed and stood around wondering what the heck to do with all this ground italian sausage and lettuce, when Pinkey came up with a brilliant idea: zuppa toscana!


Olive Garden used to be my favorite restaurant. To this day, I’ve never been unsatisfied with anything I’ve ordered from there. But the last time we went, which was for my birthday, the waiter divulged some interesting information about the food prep and I haven’t stomached going back. He also said that a sauce was made with “special ingredients” and air-quoted just like that, and I thought I was probably done eating for the night. Anyways when we do go, I order the zuppa toscana (and also sneak a few bites of salad) and I’ve never thought to make it myself. Turns out it’s super easy and a good soup to make when you want to keep a bunch in the fridge and pull out some whenever you’re hungry. Pinkey took charge of the kitchen and lunch took a swift turn from tacos to soup.

raw potatoes onions garlic

The first time we made this soup, it was quite thin (like it usually comes at Olive Garden) but Pasan prefers it thicker. I’ve put both ways in the directions and you can decide which suits your fancy. If it’s a nice hot sunny day, thin soup is probably the best way to go and thick soup is perfect for a rainy day in.

zuppa toscana 2

Zuppa Toscana


Makes 4 generous servings


1 32 oz box chicken stock
2 cups water
1 small yellow or white onion, diced
1 tbsp minced garlic
3 potatoes, peeled and diced
1 cup milk
1/4 cup corn starch (for thick soup) or 2 tbsp corn starch (for thinner soup)
1/4 cup flour (for thick soup) or 1 tbsp flour (for thinner soup)
1 large kale leaf, roughly chopped
1 lb ground Italian sausage, browned
4 to 5 strips regular all natural bacon or turkey bacon, cooked
salt and pepper


1) Bring the chicken stock and water to a bowl in a large pot. Add the potatoes, onions, and garlic and reduce to a simmer on medium heat for about 30 minutes or until the potatoes soften.
2) Whisk the milk, corn starch, and flour until they’re smooth and become a creamy sauce.
3) Add the kale and cream sauce to the pot. Then add the italian sausage and bacon, stir and add salt and pepper to taste. Stir well and serve with bread or crackers.

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