Spicy Zuppa Toscana (Potato and Sausage) Soup | The Rising Spoon

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Spicy Zuppa Toscana (Potato and Sausage) Soup

An easy & hearty potato soup with crumbled Italian sausage, onion, garlic, tender potato chunks, and leafy greens all floating in a savory, creamy broth. This is a copycat of Olive Garden's Zuppa Toscana Soup, but a slightly spicier version that's cooked longer so there's no need to add flour as a thickener. Fix a batch of this one-pot soup on the stove any time you need a warm & comforting meal with simple ingredients.
Spicy Zuppa Toscana Soup Recipe


Have you ever heard of Zuppa Toscana soup? It's a super popular potato and sausage soup served at Olive Garden. People go bonkers for it, and because of this obsession, there are tons of copycat recipes floating around the interwebz. Chances are you've tried it or (at the very least) seen it.

Even though I'd never had the restaurant version, I started craving it like mad a little over a month ago. I blame it on the huge bowls of piping hot potato soup that kept appearing in my Pinterest feed! That and I was really intrigued by the idea of a creamy soup getting most of its flavor from spicy Italian sausage. 


As I explained recently in my homemade creamy chicken noodle soup post, I went into I'm-cold-please-give-me-all-the-comfort-foods mode in early December and I asked my real-life friends on Facebook if they had any favorite ways to fix Zuppa Toscana soup. They gave me some really helpful responses (thank you Jamie), then I ran to the store to grab the rest of the ingredients. 


Spicy Zuppa Toscana (Potato & Sausage) Soup


I fixed the soup later that night and it turned out ahhhh-mazing. Creamy, savory, and totally comforting. We ate the leftovers for dinner the next night, and then two days later I fixed it AGAIN!

After making Zuppa Toscana several times this past month (frankly...I'm obsessed with it right now), I've tweaked the soup a few times to make it taste even better than the original "copycat" recipe and give it an extra kick of spice.

An Even Better Zuppa Toscana Soup 


What makes my version different? This one is cooked longer so the potatoes thicken up the soup (no flour/roux necessary), uses baby spinach instead of kale (personal preference and takes less time to wilt), and has fresh poblano pepper and dried fennel seed added to kick up the heat + flavor.

Note: The batch that I photographed today was cooked for 2 hours instead of only 1 (my normal amount) so it's thicker & has a darker broth. Yours will likely look lighter & brothier than my pictures - so I wanted to clarify that just in case. :)  

Zuppa Toscana (Potato & Sausage) Soup RecipeWhy the extra spices + pepper? Well, Zuppa Toscana is one of those recipes where the flavor of the whole dish rests on the quality of a few components (specifically hot Italian sausage in this case). 

I've noticed over the years that NOT all ground Italian sausage brands are seasoned equally! Some of them have tons of herbs and crushed red pepper and others have barely any (so disappointing). 

Adding the extra fennel + poblano pepper ensures your soup will have enough classic Italian sausage flavor and a slight background of spiciness. If your sausage already has plenty of seasonings, you can either skip the add-ins or include them for extra oomph (this is what I'd do). 

I honestly think these little changes really elevate the soup from "mmm, delicious to "oh my gosh, this is amazing". Of course, there's plenty of room for flexibility, so you're welcome to tweak it to make your belly happy, too. :)


Zuppa Toscana (Potato & Sausage) Copycat Soup


Still wondering if you should make Zuppa Toscana? 


If you're looking for an easy recipe that... 
  1. packs a ton of flavor
  2. uses simple, frugal ingredients (like potato, onion & sausage)
  3. is super duper comforting and satisfying

...then this soup is PERFECT for you! 


Spicy Zuppa Toscana (Potato & Sausage) Soup



Honestly, Zuppa Toscana is so good that it's probably ruined regular baked potato soup for me. (Although I'll still make it when I have leftover ham on hand.)

But, I'm okay with that. 

It just means that whenever I'm craving warm comfort food I'll have to fix a batch (thankfully it's easy), wrap myself in a cozy blanket, and alternate between eating big spoonfuls of chunky potato + Italian sausage and dunking a toasty buttery slice of bread into the bowl.

More Soup Recipes You'll Love:
 

potato and sausage soup, creamy potato soup, zuppa toscana, olive garden, stovetop
Main Dish
American
Yield: 6 servings
Author: Elaina Newton - The Rising Spoon
Print
Spicy Zuppa Toscana Soup

Spicy Zuppa Toscana Soup

Prep time: 15 MinCook time: 1 H & 20 MTotal time: 1 H & 35 M
A hearty one-pot potato soup with crumbled Italian sausage, onion, garlic, tender potato chunks, and leafy greens all floating in a creamy, savory broth. This is a copycat of Olive Garden's Zuppa Toscana Soup, but a slightly spicier version that's cooked longer so there's no need to add flour. Fix a batch of this soup on the stovetop any time you need a warm & comforting meal with simple ingredients.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large onion, peeled & diced
  • 2 poblano peppers, diced (stems & seeds removed)
  • 2-3 teaspoons of dried fennel seed
  • 1 teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes (adjust to your preferred level of spiciness)
  • 1 lb. of hot Italian sausage (if using links remove casings first)
  • 4 large cloves of garlic, minced
  • 4-5 large potatoes, peeled & diced (Yukon gold, red, or russet)
  • 5-6 cups of low-sodium chicken broth (enough to fully cover the potatoes)
  • 1 teaspoon of sea salt (add more at the end, to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon of cracked black pepper
  • 5 oz of baby greens (like spinach or kale)
  • 1 cup of heavy whipping cream
For Garnish (optional):
  • Shredded Parmesan cheese
  • Crumbled cooked bacon

Instructions:

  1. Measure the olive oil into a large stock-pot set to medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the poblano, fennel seed, crushed red pepper, salt & pepper. Stir and cook for 5 minutes or until the veggies start to soften.
  2. Add the Italian sausage and cook for 5-7 minutes, while breaking it up into small chunks using a wooden spoon or sturdy utensil. When the sausage is lightly browned, stir in the garlic, and cook for 1-2 minutes, making sure it doesn't burn.
  3. Add the potatoes, then pour in the chicken broth. If the potatoes are sticking out the top, add more broth (or water) until they're completely covered by a 1/2 inch of liquid. 
  4. Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low, cover with a lid, and cook for 1 hour or until all the potatoes are fork-tender. (If you're in a hurry, you can cook the soup for only 30 minutes, but it has more flavor after an hour on the stove.)
  5. Stir in the baby greens (I use spinach) and let them simmer for 2-3 minutes or until they're wilted. Turn off the heat, pour in the heavy cream, and stir everything well. Taste the soup and add extra salt & pepper, if necessary.
  6. Ladle into bowls, top with Parmesan cheese and/or crumbled bacon, and serve hot with crusty buttered bread for dunking. 

Notes:

KID-FRIENDLY VERSION: Use mild Italian sausage and omit the poblano pepper, crushed red pepper & black pepper. You can always add that directly to your bowl of soup! DOUBLING: If you're feeding a crowd, this recipe doubles or triples well, just make sure you have a large enough stock-pot and you give the potatoes extra time to cook through completely.
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Adapted from Food.com's Olive Garden Copycat Zuppa Toscana


An easy & hearty potato soup with crumbled Italian sausage, onion, garlic, tender potato chunks, and leafy greens all floating in a savory, creamy broth. This is a copycat of Olive Garden's Zuppa Toscana Soup, but a slightly spicier version that's cooked longer so there's no need to add flour as a thickener. Fix a batch of this one-pot soup on the stove any time you need a warm & comforting meal with simple ingredients.

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