Although this is a soup I have never seen served in Italy (with added cream), this is one of those recipes that I used to get email requests for constantly as it is a regular (and obviously very popular) item on an Italian American chain restaurant menu here in the US. I hesitated adding this soup to my blog in the past, but finally gave in and created my own version at home since folks were so interested in it (and I was getting tired of all the requests for it!). When I completed my blog redesign last year, I did not have a recent photo of this soup so I left it out of my soup categories thinking no one would miss it. I am however once again getting email requests for it so here it is again, a little revised to make it healthier, but very similar to my original Zuppa Toscana in flavor.
The original soup had sliced pork sausages in it and I always found the slices a little large for my liking so I replaced the slices with crumbled Italian turkey sausage meat which makes the soup easier to eat and just a little lower in fat. I also replaced the cream with fat free half and half, and added sliced baby carrots in this new version as well. The potatoes and sliced kale which are signature ingredients are still included and I think that although my version may be different that the one found on the restaurant menu, it is equally delicious and best of all lower in fat.
You can prepare this soup in a stock pot on the stove, or even in a slow cooker if you prefer. I’ve made it both ways and both methods work just fine. When I used my slow cooker, I simply browned the turkey sausage first in a frying pan on the stove, then added it to the rest of the ingredients in the slow cooker. My husband prefers this soup without the added cream (or half & half), so I leave it out for him.
Deborah Mele 2012
My version of a very popular soup served at a famous Italian American restaurant.
- 4 Links Turkey Sausage (Spicy or Mild), Meat Removed From Casings
- 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
- 1 Medium Onion, Finely Diced
- 2 Garlic Cloves, Peeled And Minced
- 2 Medium Potatoes. Peeled And Cut Into Large Dice
- 1 Cup Baby Carrots, Sliced
- 3 Cups Of Chopped Kale
- Salt & Pepper To Taste
- ¼ Cup Fat Free Half & Half
- 4 Cups Chicken Broth
- Parmesan Cheese To Serve
- Heat the oil in a large frying pan, add the sausage meat, and cook over medium heat until browned.
- Add the onions in the same pan until translucent, then add the garlic, and cook another minute or two.
- In a large soup or stockpot, add the chicken broth, kale carrots, and potatoes.
- Bring to a boil, and then reduce the heat to medium low and cook 10 minus.
- Add the sausage and onion mixture with the half and half cream, cook for 20 minutes more.
- Season with salt and pepper and serve, offering a sprinkle of grated Parmesan cheese if desired.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 6 Serving Size: 2 cups
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 224Total Fat: 9gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 48mgSodium: 927mgCarbohydrates: 21gFiber: 3gSugar: 4gProtein: 17g
I’m not terribly fond of the chain restaurant in question, but I do love this soup – my version anyway. Mine is very similar to yours. I use spicy Italian sausage cut in small rounds (I think the chain uses sausage and bacon). I add fresh tomatoes instead of carrots, use rose potatoes and will use whatever combination of chicken and vegetable broth I have on hand. I’ve also substituted spinach for the kale. I was taught to add the half and half to this kind of soup near the end by putting some of the hot broth in a bowl, mashing in a few potato chunks, mixing in the half and half and then adding it all back into the pot. That should prevent the cold dairy from reacting badly with the hot stock.
Good after noon Deborah;
I read this article with great interest. I read your frustration and final retort about an Italian soup that isn’t really Italian in nature.
When I went to that “famous Italian American restaurant “, (A misnomer) I ordered the soup and decided I could make a better version myself and I did. I managed to come very close to their version. Presently I am up to revision 6. I label them with creation date, author and revision number as I toy with the recipe over time. I view this as an easy comfort food kind of meal to end a blustery busy day.
I reviewed you recent recipe with great interest. I like the idea that it has been pared down in such a way from my original which included sweet Italian sausage. The last batch also included diced bacon and smoked sausage. It was crying high fat and artery clogging. Your usage of Italian turkey sausage and the inclusion of carrots are great. Not only will it have a different mouth feel it will also have more color option and added taste element.
In my version I would either bake or grill the sausage and cut it into slices. The rest of the recipe is basically the same as yours. I am excited to serve your version to my family and friends. Thank you for sharing.
I made this tonight and it was amazing:)