I am afraid to jinx things, but mostly Chicago has been insanely lucky this winter. We have had very little snow and it hasn’t even truly been that cold – certainly nothing that lasted for days on end. As a result, I have been slightly less moved to make all of the soups and stews that I normally relish as soon as the temperature drops. The last few days have been a bit colder and the next few are expected to be as well so I went searching for new soups I could try out. I checked out about five different versions of Zuppa Toscana and ended up with my adaptation of a few. Some used 1:1 ratio of whole milk to chicken broth and that just seemed like way too much. And because I used chicken Italian sausage, instead of pork, there was virtually no added fat. Don’t get scared off by the heavy cream; it’s only one cup for a big pot of soup. The soup is actually ridiculously easy to make and you can have it ready in under an hour. Just have some crusty bread on hand and a salad if you are feeling ambitious. There is lots of kale in here so you are getting your greens.
Zuppa Toscana adapted from Tuscan Recipes
Yield: 8-10 servings
1 pound fresh Italian sausage (hot or sweet) that has been removed from its casings
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 Tablespoon EVOO
3 large leeks, cleaned well and thinly sliced (white and light green part only)
4 large garlic cloves, crushed
1/2 teaspoon Kosher Salt
10 cups of chicken stock, preferably no salt
4 large Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled, halved lengthwise and sliced into half-moons
1 cup heavy cream
1 large bunch kale (I just used regular curly kale, but you can use Tuscan kale if you prefer)
Fresh cracked black pepper and more Kosher salt to taste
Parmesan or Pecorino cheese for serving
- In a large, heavy soup pot of Dutch Oven, saute the Italian sausage and paprika, breaking it up while it cooks. Cook until just browned. If you are using pork sausage you will need to drain off the fat. Otherwise just set aside in a separate bowl.
- In the same pot, add the EVOO and saute the leeks and garlic until softened and beginning to brown. I sprinkle them with the 1/2 teaspoon of salt at this point.
- Add the chicken stock and bring to a boil. Now addthe sliced potatoes, turn the heat to a simmer, cover and cook for 30 minutes.
- Add the heavy cream, kale and add back the cooked sausage and cook until heated through. You want to serve this hot! Garnish with freshly grated cheese and crispy bread.