This soup was created by my mom as an attempt to recreate that delicious soup from The Olive Garden – Zuppa Tuscano. Well she did better than recreate it, she created a new soup that is even better than Olive Garden’s. She called me one day from the grocery store and asked what ingredients I thought it had in it. I named a few things, she figured out the rest and here’s what she created. She wanted to make it healthier too, no cream and no bacon. You’ll never know they were missing, in fact I shouldn’t have mentioned it. This soup is fresh and delicious. One day this summer I was able to pick all the ingredients out of the garden (save the milk and sausage). I just love it when that happens.
Here’s what you’ll need:
4 -5 potatoes, any kind will do, cut into bite sized pieces
1 lb spicy Italian sausage (mild is fine too), casing removed
3 medium sized leeks, cut into small rings, no need to dice
1/2 bunch of kale
Splash of milk
5 cups chicken broth
2 cups water
Wash the leeks well because they are sandy. I use a salad spinner and let them soak inside the spinner filled with water then spin them dry. Heat a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the sausage to the hot pan and break into chunks, cook until browned but it doesn’t have to be cooked through yet. You want that fond (browned yummy bits on the bottom).
Now add the leaks and saute until tender.
Next comes the potatoes. If you want to add more or less potatoes this recipe will accommodate it. Sometimes when I need it to stretch I keep adding potatoes.
Add potatoes and cook for 5 minutes. My mom says that she adds the potatoes before the broth because she liked the flavor that the roasted potatoes get. She makes this soup in about half the quantity though so her potatoes get more browned than mine. My pan is just too crowded to get any browning but I still follow the same method.
Add broth and water and let soup simmer for 20 -30 minutes or until the potatoes are done. You may want to add more water, sometimes I use the pot as a gauge and I fill it up to within 2 inches of the top. If you are wondering why I use water, it’s because all broth will make it too salty. The sausage provides a lot of flavor and salt. While soup is simmering prepare kale. First take one piece of kale and use your knife to cut/scrape the leaves off of the stem. Position and adjust your knife angle so that the leaves just slid right off.
Then take a good portion of the leaves and roll them up.
Turn the roll and start cutting on one end. This is called chiffonade. You will produce long thin strips to put in the soup.
Add kale to soup when potatoes are cooked, and simmer for another 5 minutes or until the kale is limp.
Then pour in a heavy handed splash of milk. I would say it may be closer to 1/4 cup but I just look for a milky color when I stir it up. You can add more if you like or you don’t have to add it at all.
Taste and adjust the seasoning. This is the only soup that I don’t have to add salt because of the salty sausage and broth, in fact it can sometimes be too salty so anticipate this when adding broth. Serve with shredded Parmesan cheese on top and some crusty bread.