By Cycle Michael on August 26, 2002
Photo by yogiclarebear
Photo by yogiclarebear
"This is a clone of the Olive Garden Zuppa Toscana. Tried and true, approved by former Olive Garden chefs."
Serving Size: 1 (529 g)
Servings Per Recipe: 4
"Yum yum yum... this soup totally blew me away... it's DELICIOUS. As a former Olive Garden employee who has the taste of Zuppa Toscana burned in my tastebuds, I can truly say that my soup tonight came out as a PERFECT match. I did customize this recipe with the help of previous readers, so I recommend following it like this... I used 1 lb of hot Italian sausage, 3 medium to large potatoes UNPEELED, 1 small onion, 3 strips of thick sliced bacon, 4 cloves of garlic, 3 cups of kale (veins removed and sliced thin like ribbons), 32 oz of chicken broth, 2.5 cups of water, and 1 1/4 cups of half and half. I removed the casings from the sausage and browned the meat in a skillet, then putting aside in a stockpot. Then in the same skillet, I cooked the bacon and onions side by side, and put the onions in the stockpot, and went to work chopping up the cooked bacon and also putting in the pot. Then I sliced up all the potatoes... leave the skins on!... it creates awesome ribbons in the soup that add texture and flavor. I sliced them lengthwise and then in half into 1/4 inch thick triangles. Then I put the chicken broth, minced garlic, and water and let boil for about 30 minutes, until the potatoes were tender. Then I added the kale and half & half and let simmer another 15 minutes or so until the kale was tender as well. Although the hot sausage left a reddish colored film on top of the soup, it properly seasoned the soup without needing crushed red pepper (which the real OG recipe includes). Remember this soup should have a nice zing to it so I found that hot italian sausage worked beautifully. What a fabulous soup for this chilly weather!! Bon Appetit!"
"WOW, I made this recipe for the 2nd time. Since I was no newbie to it I went in with confidence & changed a thing or two. If your into Robust flavor, spice & don't mind a tip or two listen up... ONE- fry up some real bacon and let it hang on a paper towel once done.... TWO- please 4 the love of all that is good, saute those onions!!! (I would just throw them onto the leftover bacon fat and saute' from there) once the onions are translucent toss in the garlic and let it do its thang (watch it carefully so the garlic doesn't burn).... Three- if you Hispanic I know you have a little store bought Sofrito in the fridge (if you as blessed as I am, you'll have some of Wella's in a butter container or glass olive jar on hand) any who- toss a small spoonful of it into your onion mix, a pinch or two of some dry herbs (use common sense) and let it saute... Four- Once that's done, toss the onion mix back to the pot, throw your sliced potatoes to the party and let them catch some flava -flave (I learned to throw in like 3 more potatoes to the recipe, if you are into a broth fest than use as many potatoes as the recipe asks).. Five- b/cuz me and little man love spice I throw my hot Publix brand (it's the best) sausage to the mix and also add a tbs of red chili flakes - toss it all together for about 2 minutes, then add all the wet ingredients. Also, I add a mountain of the Kale (at least 4 cups, if u want 2 get crazy like me go for 5.. since it wilts away I don't see it being a big deal.....Besides I'm trying to add as much green to little mans belly as possible)... Six - let the soup do what it does till the potatoes are tender and what I did was take a potato masher and gave it a mash or two for some thickness. (It's been record cold in the FL these past couple days and I wanted to get cheesy and make this nice hot green filled soup for me and my boy on a cold Sunday night so for the sake of my picture perfect day I wanted the soup a little heartier than brothy so I also added about a tbs of Wondra (thickener). This was our only course along with some garlic bread sticks and it was a freakin HIT!!! Enjoy!"
"I made this for my father-in-law who loves this soup. It was part of his birthday meal and according to him it really does taste just like the Olive Garden's. I never had the soup before but it was very good. The only thing he suggested was to rough mash a little of the potato to give it a thicker consistency. Other than that he gave it a 5 star rating. Thanks for sharing this recipe."
"I just made it today and everyone loved it. Instead of using heavy whipping cream I used evaporated milk and it turned out just as good."
"I've not tasted Olive Garden's soup, but I LOVE soups. I followed this recipe exactly the first time I made it. For the second time, I used all chicken broth (no water), hot Italian sausage, and two very large russet potatoes. When the russet potatoes were very well done, I blended the broth, potatoes, onions, and garlic with an emersion blender. Then, I added five or six red potatoes, as they hold up much better. I used real bacon (I cut it up and browned it the day before.) The soup was nice and creamy and everyone loved it - I love it. I should say that I also added some crushed red pepper. The quality of sausage does make a difference! Thank you for posting!!"
"i live in rural west virginia and when we moved here from cape cod i never figured the one thing i'd miss most was olive garden soup thank you for this wonderful soup. i like the idea of the computer doing the triple quantity instead of me .the soup is just the way i remember it"
"An absolute HOME RUN!! I have made this about three times now and EVERYONE that has it LOVES IT! I did alter it somewhat...instead of russet potatoes I used Yukon Golds. Instead of bacon bits I used real bacon (about 6 or 8 slices cut in half) and instead of Italian sausage I used Jimmy Dean hot pork sausage, I made it once with half hot and half regular, either way it was about the same in the end. Not too hot at all. I also took another reviewers advice and doubled the recipe using 10 cups liquid, 6 potatoes and 4 garlic cloves. The key step is to first cook the bacon until crisp, remove from pan and then saute` the onions in the bacon fat until tender before proceeding with the recipe.(You may need to drain some of the fat depending on how much bacon is used.) My husband actually said it was the best soup I have ever made which is a lot of soup over the course of 25 years! :)"
"Very good, and very close to the original. I followed the recipe as written and it turned out great!"
"It has been awhile since I had this at Olive Garden (the closest is over 100 miles away) but it tasted the way I remembered. I used ground italian sausage, browned in a frying pan and drained on paper towels instead of regular sausage. Only change I would make would be to add more potatoes and possibly mash a few up in the cooking process to make the soup thicker. Very good copycat though!"
"I have never had this soup at Olive Garden, but it sounded good enough to try from all it's favorable reviews. I am SO glad I did. It's just delicious and my kids LOVED it. I think the (8 ounce) notation next to the "cans of chicken broth" is off, however. Normal cans of broth are more than 8oz -- I think. I ended up adding more like 28 oz of broth and it was just fine. The Kale was interesting for me. I didn't have experience with this green before and I thought it would wilt up like spinach, so I didn't cut the pieces very small. It didn't wilt much at all, so I was left with large chunks of this very durable stuff in the soup. It was like I was eating leaves straight from the yard debris bin! Next time, I would either chop the Kale up very small or use Spinach instead. And I used real bacon, sauted up with the onion. The rest of the recipe is worth repeating just as it is. Many compliments on this one!"
"This soup was good but the recipe is a little confusing, you should read the other reviews before attempting."
"Wow. And Wow. Can't get over how great this was. I used ground italian sausage (Johnsonville--I'd use freshly made next time from the meat dept). The bacon is definitely a must. Don't leave that out. It changes the whole taste. It was way better the next day---so don't over-season the first day. It seemed bland the first day, but I'm so glad i didn't over-season because the 2nd and 3rd day was outstanding. I will be making this again and again. Thanks so much!"
"Love, love, love this recipe. I make it whenever I can without burning myself out on it. Instead of using italian sausage links, I use ground italian sausage and brown it in a skillet. Afterwards I pat it down with paper towels so there is no grease (not a big grease fan). I also add the kale in with the sausage so it is cooked through without being too done and add twice the bacon (we do love bacon). Sooo good. I am salivating just thinking of it."
"I love this soup! My daughter who doesn't like potatoes and my son who doesn't like soup thinks this soup is so yummy. I did add more potatoes than the recipe calls for but the outcome was delicious. Thanks for sharing."
"Absolutely delicious! Four stars from me, though, too much water! I have made this several times since the first attempt, using only two cups water vs. one quart as the recipe calls for, an extra potato (all large), and three slices real bacon, diced up. Perfect!! With these adjustments, I consider the recipe a keeper!"
"As my favorite soup EVER, I made my own copycat version of Zuppa Toscana a few years ago. This is very close to my own, but I added a few extra ingredients:
1. Crushed red pepper - this is somewhat dependent on how hot of Italian sausage you are using.
2. Instant mashed potatoes - to make it a thicker soup (a personal preference)"
"My Husband and myself made this last night after a serious craving for the real thing hit (and being that our local O.G is usually packed and has terrible service). And OMG it was delicious we could not tell the difference between the real thing and our version. For our family of 3 we got two meals out of it and only spent $20.00, and that's with buying breadstick ingredients. Thanks a million, now i just have to try making a lower fat version."
"My boyfriend made this soup and we loovvvvved it! it tastes just like olive gardens(which is our favorite) and he's actually making it again right now! We used the exact recipe as above, but we also added some red hot chili peppers, to give it more of a kick!"
"A great soup for sure. Lots of compliments. I used 5 potatoes with skin on and mashed them up a bit to give it more body. I was noticing the sodium content on the health label though... 98% of daily allowable. Where does all the salt come from?"
"I've never had the Olive Garden version, but this was very tasty! We left out the bacon and used spinach instead of kale. This soup will be a repeat this coming winter."