Sunday, June 9, 2013

My visit to Italy

A few years ago, my sister Angie gave me a fabulous trip to Italy.  It was incredible!  The food, the people (except for one surly cab driver), and the sights.  Italy has been by far the most wonderful place I have ever seen.  I am still amazed that people in Rome can wake up every day and open their windows to a view of the Coliseum.  The first night in Florence, my sister Shari and I went looking for food around 10 pm.  We found a small café in an alley and had the first of many great meals.  Our waiter thought we were highly entertaining and called up a few American friends living in the city.  I have no idea what time we got back to the hotel!  I don't remember what Shari had, but I vividly remember the beef and mushrooms over exceptional pasta that I ate.  Tonight's dinner brought back all the wonderful memories from our trip.

This recipe is my version of Zuppa Toscana at The Olive Garden.  I've been making it for several years and it is my daughters' favorite soup recipe.  I have Queen - Rock Montreal blasting from my B&O turntable and all is right in my world!

Note:  You may subscribe to my blog at the bottom of the page to be notified of my new recipe posts.  I am trying to keep to a once per week schedule, but have a couple of trips planned for the summer and my first grandson on the way around the first of August.  (I plan to have him in the kitchen as soon as possible!)

Italian Soup with potatoes, sausage, and kale 
1 pkg. Mild Italian sausage, (mine was 19 oz.)
2 lb. red potatoes, leave skin on, halve lengthwise and slice 1/4 in. thick
1 large yellow onion, peeled, halved lengthwise and sliced
6 cups chicken stock ( I used homemade with no seasonings, but canned low-sodium is okay)
1 bunch kale, stem and spine removed, torn into bite-size pieces
1/3 cup heavy cream
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes, optional
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 rind from a good parmesan cheese wedge, (I save my rinds for adding to soups)
Grated parmesan for garnish when serving
Soup pot or Dutch oven
Remove casing from sausage and breakup links into smallish chunks. 
Over medium high heat in soup pot, brown sausage.  Add onions and cook until slightly translucent. 
 Add potatoes, chicken stock, parmesan rind, red pepper flakes, and black pepper.  Bring to a simmer and turn heat down to medium. Cook about 10 minutes until potatoes are fork tender.  Add kale, stirring to incorporate.  The kale wilts quickly, about 1- 2 minutes.  Turn off heat and add the cream.  Taste for seasoning and add the salt if needed.  Garnish with a little grated parmesan. 
This soup is even better the next day.  Reheat the leftovers slowly, do not boil.


  1. If I hadn't already known what you were posting, I would've guessed your carbonara recipe - Love this one though.

  2. This is without doubt my favorite soup! Love the tip for using the rind from these great cheeses. Expensive as they are it's great to be able to extract the flavors in this way. Really appeals to my frugal nature.

  3. This is one of my favorite soups. Thank you for the recipe! blessings ~ tanna

  4. I've been trying to work more kale into our diet as everyone seems to be singing its praises these days so I'm definitely giving this one a go!