When my family visits, they always like to visit Olive Garden for dinner; I am fine with their meals, but what I really love is their Zuppa Toscana soup. An internet search produced the original recipe, but it made nearly FIVE gallons at a time – just a bit more than my family eats at a typical meal. I adapted it and made a few slight changes to come up with the recipe that follows. Now you just need to pick up some soft rolls from a local bakery to dip in your soup in place of breadsticks and you are all set for your very own OG experience without leaving home!
Yield: 2 1/2 qts (10 cups)
2-3 slices diced bacon
1/2 lb ground sausage
¼ – ½ tsp crushed red pepper (according to taste)
¼ lb yellow onion, grated (~1/2 onion)
2-3 minced cloves garlic
5 cups hot water
2 TB chicken soup base
1 1/4 lbs yellow potatoes, ¼” sliced (~2 large russets)
2 oz (1/8 lb) fresh kale, 3/4” cut (~ 1 cup, chopped)
½ cup heavy cream (or milk)
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
½ tsp mustard powder
Cook bacon in microwave; save grease. Preheat pot to Med-High heat. Add sausage & red pepper. Cook until internal temp reaches 165 F, approximately 10 minutes. Break up large pieces. Remove from pot & drain well. Place bacon & onion in pot. Cook until onions are transparent, approximately 15 minutes. Add garlic puree, sauté 1 minute. Add water and chicken base. Stir with whisk until base is dissolved. Bring to a boil. Add potatoes and cook until tender, approximately 15 minutes. Reduce heat to Med. Break up potatoes with masher. Add kale, sausage, and cream. Simmer 5 minutes.
*mustard greens also work in place of kale
We have beautiful butternut squash from our garden this summer, so here are two recipes to warm you up and satisfy your taste buds. Butternut Squash Soup & Sopapillas are the perfect companions. The first, Butternut Squash Soup, is the perfect meal on a cool fall evening – thick, creamy and warm – and sopapillas are great for sopping up the extra. Squash sopapillas are moist and, surprisingly, don’t taste of squash! So, if you have squash-haters in your family, these sopapillas are a great way to use your squash and slip some extra nutrition into your meal!
Butternut Squash Soup
6 cups peeled, seeded, and cubed butternut squash (about 2 1/2 lbs squash)
2 large sweet apples, peeled and cubed
1 medium onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 TB butter
1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
2 tsp curry powder
4-5 cups chicken or vegetable stock (use more for a thinner soup)
8 oz sour cream or plain yogurt*
2 tsp salt
sour cream and croutons (optional)
Peel and cube the squash and apples into small pieces. Dice the onions.
Melt butter in large saucepan over medium heat. Add onions and cook 5-6 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Add squash, apples, brown sugar and curry powder. Cook and stir one minute or until curry is fragrant.
Add stock and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Simmer 25-30 minutes or until squash is very soft. Remove from heat.
Carefully ladle 1/3 of mixture into a blender (do not attempt to mix all of the soup at one time!). Leave the plug in the lid slightly open to allow steam to escape and pulse the blender until no chunks remain. Pour into a mixing bowl. Repeat one more time. Mash the remaining soup mixture and add to the puree.
Return to pot and whisk in sour cream and salt until completely incorporated. Return to heat and bring to a simmer again.
Remove from heat and garnish with sour cream and croutons if desired.
*I like to use homemade yogurt that has been strained for several hours
recipe adapted from The Pampered Chef
Second Day soup – Thai inspired vegetables and rice
Add cooked vegetables (whatever you have – carrots, zucchini, green beans, snap peas, mushrooms) and shredded chicken (leftover Turkey, anyone?) to the leftover soup and serve over rice.
Butternut Squash Sopapillas
1 1/4 cups Butternut squash
4 1/4 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
8 TB (1 cube) butter, melted
2 cups oil, for pan-frying
Mix the flour, baking soda and salt together in a mixing bowl and set aside.
Stir together the squash and melted butter. Stir the flour mixture into the squash until blended. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead until soft and satiny, adding a little more flour if necessary. Cover dough and allow to rest for 15 minutes.
Roll out dough to 1/8″ thick and cut into 3″ diameter circles. Poke each circle with a fork in the center to prevent it from ballooning when frying.
Pour vegetable oil into a large skillet and heat over med-high heat until hot. Place several of the circles into the oil and cook until lightly browned. Drain on paper towels. Cook remainder the same way.
Serve with whipped butter, honey, jam, honey-butter, or soup.
recipe adapted from allrecipes.com