Monday, January 18, 2010

Zuppa Toscana

It is snow out here in Maine and I'm sure there are more then a few kids upset because it is already a holiday and therefore not a snow day.  But it is beautiful, I love looking out my windows and seeing the swirling snow around me.  It feels like living in a snow globe. 
And weather like this calls for soup!  So I thought I would share one of our favorite "recipe" soups.  Most of the time when I make soup it is a chance to clean out the refridgerator.  I just throw everything in a pot, add water or broth and let it decide what way it is going to go.  But there are a few soups that I will go out and buy ingredients for.  And Zuppa Toscana is one them. 
Zuppa Toscana

Smoosh 2 cloves of garlic and chop 2 onions and sweat in 1 Tbs of oil in a soup pot on medium low.  After about 2-3 minutes throw in 6 hot italian sausage links.  (a note about this, if the sausage is frozen throw them in in link form to thaw, if you have thawed it ahead of time then cut the casing off so you have bulk sausage meat, or if you are really luck you will be able to just buy bulk sausage meat at the store, but my grocery store never has it, life in a small town) 

You can just let this go while you chop your potatoes.  I used 6 medium, white, unpeeled potatoes.  Just rinse any dirt off of them before you chop them.  

Let that cook for a few minutes on medium low. Now is a good time to slice the sausages if you didn't remove the casings.

Then add about 4 cups of water and 2 bullion cubes.  Yes, you can use 4 cups of stock or even just water. The sausage will give you lots of flavor. 

Go ahead and let this cook until the potatoes are cooked through.  It will take about 25 to 30 minutes on medium or medium high. 
When the potatoes are cooked through, add your milk.  Now I usually use a combo of milk and evaporated milk.  You can use Half and Half or Cream for part of it but I find it is not necessary.  Actually evaporated mild is a great way to cut some calories if you get evaporated skim milk, it is very creamy and rich and does a great job.  And now throw in the Kale.  I can get big bags of chopped kale at the grocery store here.  Or you can just buy a head of kale and chop it up.  Use 1 whole head or 3/4 of a bag.  Yes, it looks like a lot but it will cook down and taste so yummy.  Put the lid on and let it cook aprox. 5 more minutes. 
Serve with grated parmigiana cheese and some crusty bread.  YUM! 

Oh and here is a picture giving me the look because I forgot to take a picture of a bowl of soup before digging in.  It is just that good!

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