So I have been a tad obsessed with Pinterest lately. Maybe it’s my lack of creativity when it comes to things to do with my toddler or maybe I am just sick of my old stand by recipes when it comes time for weekly menu planning. Either way I rely on Pinterest A LOT! In fact this past week my entire menu, including snack ideas, came from Pinterest. Now, not everything I try is spectacular and I have certainly had my share of fails but sometimes you find a recipe that you just hit right out of the park. You’re family goes nuts over how amazing the dish is and you know this recipe will become part of your repertoire. That is what happened to me last night.
A little background, I worked as a server for Olive Garden for almost five years and still LOVE the restaurant today. One of my favorite soups they make is their Zuppa Toscana. I knew they used cream to get the base but I never would have guessed how easy it was to make! That was until I found a pin for a crockpot recipe of this yummy soup. Just to be fair click here for the recipe I followed, but I have tweaked mine a bit and gave more detail than the original.
Olive Garden’s Zuppa Toscana
Makes about 8 servings
5 1/2 cups chicken broth (or 3 cans)
2 cups whipping cream
2-4 cups chopped kale
2-3 potatoes sliced thin and quartered
1 lb sweet Italian sausage
2-3 shakes of red pepper flakes (or more if you like more of a kick)
salt and pepper (to taste)
Combine the chicken broth and heavy whipping cream in the crockpot.
Chop up kale into bite size pieces or, if you are like me, buy a bag of pre washed and chopped kale! I didn’t really measure it but grabbed about 3 large handfuls. I would certainly suggest grabbing more than you think you need as it cooks down A LOT. I almost filled my crockpot to the top with kale and still felt I could have added more. Wash and cut up the potatoes with the skin on. I used 3 large potatoes and felt the soup ended up being too potato heavy. I would suggest 2 large or 3 small baking potatoes. Add both potatoes and kale to crockpot.
Brown the sausage and break apart into small chunks. Season with a touch of salt and pepper then add to crockpot.
Mix all ingredients together and add more salt and pepper for taste as well as a few shakes of red pepper flakes. I don’t like things spicy but I didn’t feel this made it spicy at all. It just gave it a much needed kick to cut the heaviness of the cream base.
Set your crockpot on high for 3-4 hours until the potatoes break apart easily with a fork.
note: This recipe also freezes well! I saved two servings in container with a label to be pulled out for the hubby and I when I just don’t feel like cooking.