An Easy, Simple, And Delicious Zuppa Toscana Soup

I have never been a person who adores “soup season.” Instead of turning to fall as a means of bowls full of joy, I prefer the concept of mashed potatoes. To each their own, I suppose.

There are some soups I do truly love, though. A creamy tomato basil (accompanied with a grilled cheese sandwich), hearty beef stew, taco soup, and good heavens, I will lose a finger if it means unlimited lobster bisque. Bisque aside, many of these soups are “one timers” for me. I eat them once, then dread having to continue with my leftovers practice until the bowl is empty. That’s really why I don’t make soup souper (heeheehee) often. The repetition is just harder with this food. I don’t know why — mashed potatoes certainly do not have the same issue — that’s just how it is.

Then, friends, I met the zuppa toscana.

Zuppa toscana literally just means “soup of Tuscany.” Well, since I am almost positive Italian DNA does not flow through my veins (I asked, incredible pizza consumption doesn’t change this), I knew I’d be winging it one way or the other. My zuppa toscana is Americanized. Or Irish-ized? A quarter Norwegian-ized? My head hurts.

Thankfully, I got a recipe from a friend of a friend that allowed me to have an excellent foundation in which to experiment with the soup. My experimentation had zero scientific meaning and was based on 1. my personal preferences and 2. what I did and did not have in my kitchen. This method resulted in changing approximately five or six things from the foundation recipe I was given.

Here’s what you’ll need for a soup that you will 100% look forward to reheating tomorrow at lunch.

Ingredients

1 lb sweet Italian sausage

1 small yellow onion

7 medium sized potatoes (you can use either red or yellow)

2 garlic cloves

1 container of chicken stock (32 oz)

3/4 cup heavy whipping cream

1 bunch of kale

2 tsp oregano

1 tsp basil

1/2 tsp red pepper flakes

Pinch of black pepper

Ok, let’s get started.

First, finely dice the onion and put it in your soup pan over medium heat. Add in the sausage and let them simmer together. NOTHING in the entire world smells better than this. You can almost hear Joey Tribbiani’s mother singing in her kitchen. Pure bliss.

Once your sausage has cooked thoroughly (zero pink left, but don’t burn the poor lil’ fellas), drain this mixture of the grease. You don’t have to, but you should. Once it’s drained, dump your mixture back into the pot.

Then add your chicken stock, finely chopped garlic, oregano, basil, black pepper, and red pepper flakes.

Now, get those potatoes chopped into 1-inch cubes (approximately, nobody’s perfect) and dump them into the pot. The second time I made this, I actually used five yellow potatoes and three baby red potatoes. It was still fabulous. Sometimes, a potato is a potato. Ya feel?

Let your soup simmer and start smelling amazing. Put a fork in a potato cube every now and then to see how they’re coming. When they’re almost done, add in your kale.

Your kale should just be leaves. NO STEM. This is very important. The stem is more bitter, AKA it has no place in our soup. Period.

I know a whole “bunch” of kale seems like a lot, but this stuff shrinks into practically nothing. Don’t worry, you’ll eat your greens without really knowing it.

Once your kale has wittled down and your potatoes are nice and soft, add in your heavy cream. You can add a little more, or a little less, depending on how creamy you want it. I don’t judge — cream preferences are very personal.

Let your zuppa toscana simmer for about seven more minutes after the cream has been added. This is the time to make sure it is spiced to your liking. Yes, the instructed measurements are a great place to start, but there is nothing wrong with extra basil! Shake the herb bottles liberally, my friend. Have a grand ole time.

As you set your herb maracas down, your soup should be done. Take it off the stove and dish yourself a bowl of piping hot goodness. Please do not forget the crusty piece (or two…or three) of Italian bread. What else were you planning on scooping up the last remnants of soup with?!

There you have it, pals! A probably-not-straight-from-Tuscany, but-really-super-dope zuppa toscana! Happy eating!

If you’re looking for dessert, check out my oatmeal raisin cookies!