tasty tuesday ~ zuppa toscana (ala olive garden)

I love this soup at Olive Garden. I could take a bath in it, it is that yummy. I have seen several versions of the recipe floating around for years and after making at least three of them and not being satisfied, I decided to branch out on my own and see if I could duplicate what I loved about the original. 

My guys are not huge fans of kale so I switched it out for spinach. I also quadrupled the amount of any recipe I saw. I used 8 cups of spinach in this soup and it really stood up. It made me feel better as I was pouring in that cup of heavy cream. 

This soup is spicy and creamy. It is begging for some fresh bread to be dipped into. I also served a nice light green salad along side it. All in all a great success. It tastes BETTER than the original...in my humble opinion.

Celebrate the Feast!
This weeks recipe is being shared with  Nap Time CreationsBalancing Beauty and Bedlam , Totally Tasty Tuesday @ Mandy's Recipe BoxFat Tuesday @ Real Food ForagerDomestically Divine Homemaking Link UpWhat's Cooking Wednesday @ Tales from the Fairy Blogmother, Raising Homemakers, Delicious DishesTempt Your Tummy TuesdayThe Kids in the Kitchen Link-up @ Young Living Oil Lady,  The King's Court IVThis Chic CooksCast Party Wednesday @ Lady behind the CurtainTuesdays at the Table33 Shades of Green, Full Plate @ Miz Helen's Country CottageFriday Flair @ Whipperberry Food on Friday's @ Anne KroekerSimply Delish Saturday @ KB and Whitsnakes HomeCooking Thursday @ A Diary of a Stay at Home MomGCC Recipe swap @ The Grocery Cart ChallengeWeekend Potluck @ The Country Cook as well as the Hearth and Soul Blog Hop@21st Century Housewife. Head on over to their blogs and check out other fabulous recipes.

Zuppa Toscana 
(ala Olive Garden via my kitchen)

1 lb ground Italian sausage 
( I used half sweet Italian and half hot Italian sausage)
1 tsp crushed red peppers
1 large diced white onion
2 tsp garlic 
(you can puree it if you want. I used finely minced)
10 cups water
5 cubes of chicken bouillon
1 cup heavy cream 
(or half and half or skim milk if you want. Your choice)
4 large potatoes, cubed
6-8 cups of fresh baby spinach

1. Sauté Italian sausage and crushed red pepper in a large pot. Drain excess fat, refrigerate while you prepare other ingredients.

2. In the same pan, sauté onions and garlic over low-medium heat for approximately 15 mins. or until the onions are soft.

3. Add chicken bouillon and water to the pot and heat until it starts to boil.

4. Add the cubed potatoes and cook until soft, about half an hour.

5. Add the heavy cream and just cook until thoroughly heated.

6. Stir in the sausage and the spinach, let all heat through and serve. Delicious!

There are so many versions of this recipe floating around on the interwebs that I can't remember where I first heard of it. I have made at least three different versions and this one is a compilations of what I liked in them.