A place for me to share my love for all things cooking, wine and Bento.  The research for this blog is going to continually be grueling my friends.... ;)

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Olive Garden Get's Mocked

I think it's my favorite place, though I don't get to go much.  Technically I like the local expensive establishments better for flavor but if one were to add bargain with product, then it's my ultimate favorite.  Sometimes eating something good for a good price can make one happier than eating something awesome for the trade of a mortgage payment.

So, a few years ago we went and had a soup that I just loved.  It turns out it's called Zuppa Tuscana which means, guess what?  Yep you guessed it, "Soup of Tuscany".  How hard was that?!  It's no wonder I love it since I seem drawn to anything related to all that is Tuscany.  I had no clue at the time this was it's name but I was none the less, drawn in.

There are many mock versions out there but I'm kind of a perfectionist when it comes to getting mocks done well.  They all have a few variations of the same idea.  Some say it is supposed to have mild sausage, it's not.  Some say it's spinach, it's not.  So, here it is.

In your soup pot or dutch oven saute in olive oil:

One large onion chopped
2-4 fresh garlic cloves
 (depends on you love affair with garlic....mine happens to be passionate)
Add 1 lb. ground spicy Italian sausage
(Of course... if you have kids that can't do spice, do regular and spice up your own bowl) I used link Italian spicy sausage in my last bit which the picture was taken from but I did not like the texture of it as much.  I did however get it on a great deal! So, I told myself to cope and deal.

Add one carton of Trader Joe's Chicken Broth 

I'm specific  here because truth is THIS IS THE BEST chicken broth around.  Of COURSE, you can use what you have (I hereby give you my permission:) and I broke the rules even more on this batch and used what I had which was beef broth (* loud gasp*).  It still turned out good but is darker in color.  I prefer the chicken taste as well.

Bring to a simmer and add 3-5 sliced potatoes

I always slice mine too thin.  Most recipes say to do thin, I say 1/4 inch is best if you want to let this get real happy before eating it.

Let that simmer with the lid on for a good while (can you tell I'm not a specific cook!?) till the potatoes are near fork tender.

Add a couple hand-fulls of chopped Kale greens.  

Most places are selling these in pre-washed and chopped bags which is great because Kale can actually be priced a little high and you are going to get more in a bag.

Salt and Pepper (to taste)

Once the kale has wilted down into the soup....

Add one cup heavy cream (or light if you are having to be careful, but really?  must you?)

Let that warm to serving temp and serve!

I like to make a similar Olive garden salad and I hear there are mock recipes for the Italian dressing out there but you will have to do that homework.  Sorry.

It's so good, let me know what you think!

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