Cold outside? This is rustic, hearty and delicious. And as far as soups go, this is a very easy one to make. It’s called Zuppa Toscana or Tuscan Soup and it involves kale – a nutritional powerhouse.
I learned this recipe many moons ago and, though I’ve made a couple of changes to it over the years, it still remains a go-to soup for me when the weather turns cold.
Zuppa Toscana (Tuscan Soup) Recipe
- 1 pound Italian sausage
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 3-4 large cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 – 1 tablespoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 3 cups chicken or vegetable stock
- 4 large potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 inch chunks
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 6-8 cups fresh kale, cleaned and tough stems removed, torn into large pieces
- Freshly grated Parmesan cheese for serving
In a large pan or dutch oven, brown the sausage over medium heat. Once browned, drain excess fat. Add olive oil, garlic and crushed red pepper flakes to browned sausage and, over medium heat, cook for 3 minutes.
Add stock, potatoes, salt and pepper.
Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 40 minutes. Add kale, cover and simmer for 10 minutes more.
Ladle soup into bowls and top with freshly grated Parmesan before serving.
Now here are some ways to customize this:
- For a healthier version, use shredded chicken instead of sausage
- For a vegetarian version, omit the meat and use white beans, such as Great Northern or Cannellini, and use vegetable stock instead of chicken
- If you don’t like the heat, omit the crushed red pepper flakes
- Substitute Swiss chard, spinach or arugula for kale
- Add carrots and/or mushrooms for additional flavor
- For a creamier base, stir in a cup of heavy cream 1 minute before shutting off heat
- For a creamier base without the dairy, scoop out a cup or two of cooked potatoes and puree them in a blender or food processor, then add back to soup
As you can see by my photo, I like mine chunky and full of stuff, so if you want more stock, add a little less potato and kale.
Oh, and be sure to have a crusty loaf of bread to serve with this – you’ll want to sop up every last drop.