Zuppa Toscana

America has been conditioned to think of pasta as the never-ending pasta bowl and Olive Garden.
Joe Bastianich

When I started to gather the ingredients for Giada’s or Yotam’s sausage and kale soup I quickly realized that I didn’t have everything needed for either version, but I did have several of the items, kale, chicken broth, a leek, celery, carrots and sausage seasoning along with a mild Italian sausage. Lightbulb moment, “Olive Garden’s Zuppa Toscana” or as close to it as I can get and it was delicious with a few additions from our guest chef’s suggestions. While I was inspired by their versions, I could not relate to the smoked sausage for my version so I went way off the track for this soup and made it with Italian sausage.

The best part of today’s recipe is, of course, the Instant Pot cooking time at 5 minutes under pressure with a natural release and finally stirring in fresh kale for just long enough to wilt.

My ingredients:
4 ounces cubed pancetta
a 2-inch chunk of cheese rind to toss into the pot
1 cup heavy cream
5-6 cups hearty chicken stock
6 cloves of minced garlic

1 small leek, white parts only, minced
1 medium onion, diced

1/4 cup diced celery
1 pound bulk Italian sausage or 1-5 link package casings removed

3-4 cups sliced red or yellow potatoes
2-3 teaspoons Italian sausage seasoning, mine is homemade
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano and a sprinkle of semi-dried Italian herbs
freshly ground pepper to taste
fresh kale of choice, about 2-3 cups

Garnish with freshly grated cheese and red pepper flakes

Heat IP to high sauté, toss in the cubed pancetta sauté until crisp and remove to paper towels, sauté the sausage, breaking up as you go, add the diced onions, celery, and leek, cook for about 2 minutes. Add the rest of the ingredients except the cream and kale, set pot to high pressure for 5 min, quick release, and stir in the cream and kale, simmer until the kale is wilted.

My broth was a little thin so I simmered it down to thicken a bit…serve hot and garnish with grated cheese and red pepper flakes if you like.

Enjoy a fantastic side garden or Italian salad and some fresh garlic knots or garlic bread.