Copycat Zuppa Toscana is the perfect reason to stay in on a cold evening. Fill Dutch oven with the taste of Olive Garden’s signature soup without leaving the comfort of the couch or your pajamas.
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Homemade Zuppa Toscana
I remember as a kid frequenting Olive Garden for their endless soup, salad, and breadsticks meals. As with most Americans, Zuppa Toscana was a favorite and classic my parents loved. I can also remember the day my mother first made it at home.
This was before the days of the world wide web in how we know and use it today. But being the wonderful cook and professional baker she is, she was able to decipher the ingredients right down to the red pepper flakes so we could enjoy it at home. Since that day and further after having a home of my own, it quickly became a recipe I would go back to time and time again. Then when I was in the military, out in Mississippi, we found an Olive Garden that would sell me a bottle of their salad dressing. Next thing you knew, I was treating myself to soup, salad, and breadsticks while deployed. It was the perfect reminder of home and comfort that I now get to share with my children.
Bonus points now, which make it even better in my opinion, is that nearly everything we need ingredient wise for this soup is grown or raised right here on our farm or my parents’. From the kale to the woodland raised pork, the potatoes, onions, bacon, and now even the breadsticks with home milled flour -it’s all done right here. Between that and now mastering Chicken Gnocchi Soup, I will say my once favorite restaurant is right at home.
Is Zuppa Toscana really Italian?
While for most Americans we recognize this soup as the most popular soup option from Olive Garden, it’s roots do originate from Tuscany as a traditional Italian soup. It is very similar to Italian wedding soup.
Zuppa Toscana Ingredients
Adding heat to your Zuppa Toscana
Some like it hot and there are a few modifications you can make to this soup to do so. Try using hot Italian sausage instead of regular Italian, add more red pepper flakes or black pepper, and the less traditional method – a splash of hot sauce.
How to make Zuppa Toscana
Step 1: Chop the bacon into bite sized pieces and add to the Dutch oven. Brown the bacon and remove, setting it aside on a paper towel lined plate.
Step 2: Add the ground pork and chopped onions. Saute until pork is browned and onions are tender. Add the minced garlic and stir for an additional minute.
Step 3: Drain of excess grease if desired. This is a pretty fat-forward dish, so expect some extra grease from the bacon and pork. But you can drain off as much as desired. Add in the remaining spices and stir.
Step 4 & 5: Add the potatoes and chicken broth, ensuring there is enough to fully cover the potatoes. If you need a touch more liquid, you can use water. Bring to a boil, reduce to simmer and cover for about 20 minutes until potatoes are fork tender.
Step 6: Add the kale, heavy cream, and cheese. Stir for just a few minutes before serving. The kale should still have a bit of a crunch to it.
How to thicken Zuppa Toscana
- Add a cornstarch slurry.
- Mash half of the potatoes added to the soup.
How long will Zuppa Toscana last in the refrigerator?
Zuppa Toscana lasts about 3-4 days in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
Can you freeze Zuppa Toscana?
While technically you can freeze milk-based soups, the issue really becomes the result upon reheating. You do not want to boil a milk-based soup after freezing and sometimes the texture, even if not boiled, can be off-putting. The milk can become grainy and separate from the broth. If you are making a large batch and know that chances are likely you’ll want to freeze some of this, then remove the portion you want to freeze before adding in any dairy products or cooking your kale. Add it to the freezer safe container and let it cool completely. Then add in fresh kale and a note on top reminding you to add in cream and cheese after reheating in a few months. Done this way and the soup can last about 3 months in the freezer.
How to reheat Zuppa Toscana
To reheat Zuppa Toscana that has been previously frozen, remove from the freezer and set in the refrigerator overnight. Pour into a soup pot or Dutch oven and heat on the stovetop over low, stirring often. Then add the dairy products. If a rapid thaw and cook is required add about one cup of chicken stock to the Dutch oven, plus the frozen soup and heat over medium heat, stirring often. Otherwise, reheating refrigerated leftovers can be done in the microwave.
What to serve with Zuppa Toscana
Copycat Olive Garden Zuppa Toscana
- 5 quart dutch oven with lid
- Cutting board
- Measuring Cups
- measuring spoons
- 1/2 pound bacon
- 1 large yellow onion
- 1 Tablespoon garlic minced
- 1 pound ground Italian Pork
- 1 Tablespoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 2 teaspoons black pepper
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1-1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 1 Tablespoon dried parsley
- 1-1/2 pounds red potatoes diced into 1/2 inch cubes
- 6 cups chicken broth
- 3 cups kale chopped
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1/2 cup parmesan cheese
- Cook chopped bacon in the Dutch oven over medium-low heat on the stovetop for approximately 8 minutes. Remove bacon and set aside on a paper towel lined plate. Leave the bacon grease in the Dutch oven.
- Add the onions to the Dutch oven and sauté 5 minutes. Add the ground pork and sauté until browned about 10 minutes. Remove excess grease at this time if desired.
- Add the garlic and spices. Cook for 1 minute.
- Add potatoes and stir, followed by the chicken stock. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer for 20 minutes until potatoes are fork tender.
- Remove from heat. Add kale, whipping cream, and parmesan cheese. Stir until combined and kale is tender.
- Top with additional parmesan cheese and bacon before serving.