Olive Garden’s Zuppa Toscana Copycat

Olive Garden's Zuppa Toscana Copycat


  • 4 slices bacon, about 1/2 inch dice
  • 1 pound bulk Italian sausage or Italian sausage with casing removed, mild or hot, whichever you prefer
  • 1/4 teaspoon red chili flakes
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 1/2 cups (28 ounces) chicken broth
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 1 /2 pounds russet potatoes, halved and in 1/4″ slices (see note)
  • 2 cups kale, roughly chopped into 1 1/2″ pieces, lightly packed
  • 1 cup cream
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste


Add bacon to a large pot or dutch oven. Turn heat on to medium-high and cook, stirring now and then until fat is rendered but bacon is not quite crispy; remove bacon to a paper towel-lined plate to drain.

Add Italian sausage and red chili flakes to the skillet and break the sausage up into small pieces (a potato masher works well for this) cooking until no red remains on the outside, two to three minutes or so. Add in the onion, stirring often and cook until onion is translucent and sausage is lightly browned.

Turn off heat and drain well; this is best done by putting the sausage/onion mixture on one side of the pan and tilting the pan for several minutes so the rendered fat accumulates on the far side, then spooning the fat off. Tilt by setting the pan slightly off the burner; if your burner isn’t raised, put a large spoon or some other heat-proof item underneath one side to raise the side of the pan with the sausage.

Return pan to medium heat. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about a minute. Stir in chicken broth and water and bring to a simmer. Add the potatoes and cook until just barely tender, about 10 minutes; no need to stir which will break up the potatoes; just give them a little nudge now and then to make sure they’re evenly distributed and all cook at the same time. When the potatoes are just tender, add kale and reserved bacon, cover and let cook an additional three to four minutes.

Gently stir in heavy cream until heated through, about 1 minute; season to taste with salt and pepper.

Note: 1 1/2 pounds of potatoes is 24 ounces, which is five medium potatoes, about 5 ounces each. A medium potato is about 2 1/4 inches across.

Keywords: Bacon, Bargain Meal of the Week, copycat, Cream, Italian, Italian sausage, Kale, olive garden, Pork, Potatoes, Sausage, Soup

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