Here is a re-do post of my husband's version of Olive Garden's Zuppa Toscana. (The first time I posted this was back in November of 2008). Since then, we have made this recipe at least a dozen times to this day and every time, it has turned out fantastic! Here is how he does it:
1 Pound of Italian Sausage (hot or mild)
2 tsp of crushed Red Pepper
1 large onion, chopped
4-6 strips of bacon, cubed
(You may cook and crumble bacon before hand)
2 cloves of garlic, minced
10 cups of water with 4 Tablespoons of Chicken Soup Base or Bullion
3 pounds of potatoes (about 6-8 medium)
2 cups of heavy cream
1 bunch of Kale (curly), roughly chopped
Salt and Pepper to Taste
Cook Italian Sausage with crushed red peppers in the stock pot you will be using for your soup. After cooked thoroughly, place sausage into a bowl and set it aside in the refrigerator until needed later.
Saute: Chopped Onion, bacon, and minced garlic in the same pot until onions are soft and bacon is cooked (if not already).
Add chicken soup based water. Bring to a boil.
(You can also use chicken stock)
Thinly slice potatoes.
Add potatoes and cook until tender (about 10 minutes).
Add chilled sausage back into the soup.
Stir in Heavy Cream.
Add Kale just before serving.