Zuppa Toscana

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

So, I'm not feeling well.  Yeah, I know it sucks but, I have soup in my freezer and that makes things a tad more bearable.  Every time I make soup I take a bowl to work the next day and freeze the rest.  That way, when times like these come around, I always have soup that I can unthaw and devour.  You have no idea the pride I have when Mr. Schwartz is sick (super rare occurrence) and I say "Baby, do you need some chicken noodle soup?"  And he says "yees" in his super cute sick voice.  

Moral of the story: Make this soup.  Freeze this soup. Eat this soup when you are not feeling well, like me, tonight.  Boo.  

Musical Selection: Paradise by: Cold Play.  I watched them jam on Ellen over break and I'm newly re-obsessed. 
Start by chopping up some bacon and frying it.  Have I caught your attention yet?
Next, chop an onion.
And add it to a pan of browned Italian sausage.  Sorry, I forgot to take a pic of that but really, it was pretty boring.  Oh and add your bacon back to pan as well.
Add some garlic.
And give it a stir.  Cook for about 5 minutes or until the onions become translucent.
Then, add some chicken stock and let it simmer for a while.  This was my holding time while I waited for the "go ahead" from Mr. Schwartz that he was on his way home from work.  I let this simmer for at least an hour and it was okay.
Once I got the "go ahead" I chopped up some kale but first removed the ribs.  Those babies are tough.
Next, I combined corn starch and half and half to make a slurry.  This wasn't in the original recipe but I like a soup to have a little thickness to it.
Give it a stir and make sure there are no lumps.
Bring the broth/meat/onions/garlic mixture to a boil and slowly pour in the slurry while stirring constantly.  Unless you are blogging, then take a picture and quickly stir in the slurry.
Then thinly (very thinly) slice your potatoes.  Wait, wash them first, then slice them.
And then quarter them.
Add them to the party. 
Give a good few shakes of red pepper flakes, to your taste.  Remember that the spice will develop as they are rehydrated.
A few cranks of black pepper and a sprinkle of salt as well.
When it is almost time to serve (within 5 minutes) toss in the kale and stir.
There it is. Yum.
Hello knock of Olive Garden perfection.  Do you see those bread stick like lumps in the back corner?  Yeah, I made those too. I'm not all that proud of them so for the time being you will have to use your own bread to dunk in this heaven.  I do plan on remaking them soon so stay tuned.
Ahhhh....dinner cannot come soon enough. 

Zuppa Toscana 

1/4 lb bacon, diced
1 medium onion, diced
1 lb ground Italian sausage
3 cloves of garlic, minced
6 cups chicken stock (low sodium preferred) 
1 cup half and half (I used fat free)
2-3 tablespoons corn starch
2 cups kale, chopped
1 tablespoon red pepper flakes (more or less to your taste)
salt and pepper to season
Parmesan cheese for topping

Start by frying the bacon.  Once crispy, set aside to drain on a plate lined with a paper towel.  Pour out the majority of the bacon fat as well.   

Next add the sausage to the pan.  Let cook for about two minutes on medium then add the onion.  Cook until the sausage is fully cooked.  Add the onions.  Cook until the onions become translucent.  

Add the chicken broth and red pepper flakes.   Let simmer for at least 30 minutes on medium.  Combine the half and half with the corn starch and mix until there are no clumps.  If you like a thinner soup add two tablespoons if you like it thicker add three.  Bring the soup to a boil and whisk in the slurry.  If you have added all of the slurry and would still like a thicker soup, mix up additional slurry and thicken to your liking.  Heat through. 

Add the kale when you are about 5 minutes away from serving.  Serve with crusty bread and top with grated parmesan cheese.  


Recipe adapted from: here

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