Slow Cooker Zuppa Toscana Recipe
Olive Garden has long been famous for their Zuppa Toscana. Full of flavor and filling, but surprisingly easy to make. This can be made on the stove top, but I prefer to use my slow cooker since it really brings out the flavor of the sausage and melds everything together. Besides, what’s better than having your kitchen smell like an Italian restaurant at the end of the day? Whether you’re a crockpot pro or new to the game, this is a really easy recipe to modify to suit your personal tastes. I’ll add some notes regarding options along the way. Enjoy!
What really makes this soup delicious is a good Italian sausage. I’m lucky enough to have an Italian market down the street with several in-house varieties, but any type of Italian sausage will do. I prefer a lot of flavor and little heat, so sweet fennel is my go to. If you like some kick go with a hot variety or add some red pepper flakes. Remove the sausage casing, crumble into bite size pieces or make little meatballs, then brown in a skillet. Just before it’s finished toss in 2 or 3 cloves of diced garlic, then add to the slow cooker.
Now for the potatoes. There are a few options here. I use a bag of thawed diced potatoes and onions for convenience. If you can’t find the diced potatoes with the onions, just diced a small yellow onion and cook over low heat until translucent. You can also use fresh potatoes. Choose a baking type, like Russets, and dice them and give a quick rise to remove excess starch. Add an extra hour to cooking time for fresh potatoes.
Add the potatoes and onions to the slow cooker. Pour in the chicken stock plus enough water to cover the other ingredients. Keep in mind you’ll be adding some kale later too. I have a large 7 quart crock, so usually 2 cups of water are needed. If you’re using chicken broth, you may want to add more broth instead of water for flavor. Cover and cook on low for 5-6 hours or on high 3-4 hours.
Next step, creamy goodness and a healthy kick. Add 1 cup of half & half or heavy cream to the crock. Remove the stems and roughly chop or tear half a bunch of kale (approx 2 cups) and toss it in. Add any extra seasoning to the soup if needed. Cook for another 30 minutes on high. Once your Zuppa Toscana is ready enjoy with some fresh crusty bread. Topping with croutons, grated Parmesan cheese, or even bacon gives it even more of a flavor punch. Enjoy!
1 to 1.5 pounds Italian sausage, casing removed
1 bag thawed diced potatoes and onions (approx 24 oz) or 4-5 Russet potatoes, diced and 1 medium yellow onion, diced
2-4 cloves garlic, diced
32 oz. chicken stock
1-2 cups water
1 cup half & half or heavy cream
1/2 bunch kale (approx 2 cups), stems removed and roughly chopped
red pepper flakes or other hot spices if desired
What did you think? Please feel free to recommend any adjustments or other suggestions in the comments section below.
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