Olive Garden Zuppa Toscana – My take on it!

20161227_170238My daughter got me a 6.3 qt electric pressure cooker for Christmas (I asked for one) and the first thing I did was cook down our Christmas turkey bones in it. It was awesome! I had to do two batches, but they only took 1 hour 15 min a piece, and I didn’t have to babysit a simmering pot for 6 hours like I normally do to cook down bones.

Then, of course, because that was amazing, I went online and started searching out recipes. I have a whole pile to try, and I can’t wait, but I started with my absolute favorite restaurant soup. Olive Garden’s Zuppa Toscana. It’s a spicy sausage soup with bacon, potatoes, onions, bacon and kale. It’s not a healthy soup-it’s a curl up on a cold winter day kind of soup. So comforting…

What I’m finding with the pressure cooker is that any recipe you would do in a crock pot, you can do in it only way faster.

I never made Zuppa Toscana before, but other recipes take a while because you have to cook it long enough to cook the potatoes. So, this recipe can be made in the crock pot, on the stove, or in just 1 hour in the pressure cooker, even using the “saute” setting on the pressure cooker so it’s literally a 20161225_075333one-pot meal, which was even more amazing not to have to dig out the fry pan to brown everything first.

So, I’ll give both sets of directions. The ingredients are the important thing, anyway.

Oh, and no one in my house except George, the bunny, likes kale, so I used spinach instead.

  • 1 lb spicy Italian sausage
  • 1/2 lb bacon, diced
  • 1 medium onion
  • 2 heaping Tblsp minced garlic
  • 5 medium potatoes, quartered then sliced into 14″ slices (I used Yukon gold, but any will work)
  • 1.5 quarts chicken stock (I used turkey stock from Christmas, and it worked great)
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 cups (packed) kale or spinach, cut into strips.
  • salt & pepper to taste.

If using the pressure cooker:

  1. Using the saute setting, brown the bacon bits.
  2. Add onions and stir until translucent.
  3. Throw in the garlic and saute one more minute.
  4. Remove from pot and pour out oil – I put it in a strainer to drain excess oil.
  5. Then saute the sausage, breaking it up into little pieces as it cooks.
  6. Remove sausage from pot and drain oil from sausage.
  7. Wipe out cooker with a wad of paper towel to remove all oil.
  8. Add the bacon mixture and the sausage back into the pot.
  9. Add in the rest of the ingredients except greens and cream.
  10. Put the lid on and hit the “soup” setting. It takes about an hour total.
  11. Once it’s finished, let it decompress naturally for 10 minutes, then do a quick release.
  12. Stir in the greens until they wilt. Add the cream and stir. Ready to serve with a sprinkle of fresh parm on top!

If using the stove top:

  1. Saute bacon, onions, garlic the same way as above but in a fry pan. Drain.
  2. Then do the sausage the same way in the fry pan. Drain.
  3. Transfer to a 6 quart stock pot, and add all the ingredients except greens and cream.
  4. Cover and simmer on low until potatoes are tender.
  5. Add in the greens until they wilt.
  6. Add cream.
  7. Serve with a dash of fresh parm on top!

For crock pot: Same as stove top, but put it into a crock pot instead of a stock pot. I think to cook the potatoes all the way would be about 4 hrs on high. Then finish it off with the greens and cream the same way.


George – The household kale eater.



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