Servings: 12 Prep: 20 min Cook: 30 min Total: 50 min
Zuppa toscana is literally “Tuscan soup”. I’d be like saying “West Virginia Soup”, but in Italian. That said, there are certain ingredients and cooking styles that occur, evolve, and vary from region to region. If a soup is named after a place, it must, therefore, represent the place well!
Zuppa toscana is typically made from kale, cannellini beans, potatoes, a bit of tomato, olive oil, some chili, some bread, and a bit of Italian bacon (rigatino). Reviewing a wide range of Tuscan soups, it seems common elements are some kind of meat, leafy greens (often kale), beans, potatoes, tomatoes and broth. None of them seem to have cream, though. Or, at least, it’s not common.
This is where Olive Garden comes blazing in, with their delectable, almost chowder-like Zuppa Toscana, a hefty, creamy soup laden with sausage, bacon, potatoes and cream. Soul pleasing, luscious, and popular.
Here, we’re swapping potatoes for cauliflower, an age-old low-carb trick. I’m also using pancetta instead of bacon, ‘cause I was feeling a little high on the hog. (Feel free to use bacon, though!)
A wonderful soup, easy to make, and goes down easy!
Note: Make your own sausage, by whipping up a batch of these!
Zuppa ToscanaPrint Pin Rate
- 1/2 cup olive oil divided
- 6 oz pancetta diced
- 1 small white onion diced
- 4 cloves garlic chopped
- 3/4 lb raw Italian sausage sweet or spicy
- 2 cup beef broth
- 1 lb cauliflower florets
- 1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
- 2 cups kale sliced
- salt, pepper, and chili flakes, to taste
- Place a large soup pot over medium heat. Once warm, add 2 Tbsp (30mL) of olive oil and swirl it around the bottom, to coat the pan.
- Add the diced pancetta and stir until some of the fat renders out and it begins to color.
- Once the pancetta begins to color, add the onion and garlic with a bit of salt and pepper. Turn the heat to low and stir until the onions are translucent and aromatic (about 5 minutes).
- If your sausage is in links, just cut them into little rings. They’ll be squishy, but that’s ok. We’re not going for perfection. Just little bits of sausage. Add to the onions and stir around, to cook. If the sausage is bulk, or it’s homemade, and not in a casing, just toss it in the pot and stir to break it up and cook for about 5 minutes.
- Add the beef broth and bring to a simmer. Allow to simmer for about 20 minutes.
- Taste the soup and adjust the seasoning. At this point, it’s ok if the soup is a tad bit on the salty side. We’re going to add the cauliflower, which will be seasoned by the salt and dilute the overall saltiness.
- Add the cauliflower to the soup base and stir it in. Let it simmer for about 4 to 5 minutes.
- Add the cream and kale, stirring both in. Let this cook for about 5 more minutes. Adjust the seasoning again, if it needs it.
- Ladle into bowls and drizzle the remaining olive oil over the top of each bowl.
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