Monday, November 10, 2008

I stole this from Olive Garden

The last 100 times I've gone to Olive Garden, I've said to the waiter/waitress: "soup, salad and breadsticks, please, and yes I'd like a mountain of cheese - on everything!". Standard fare was always the minestrone, but just once I was intrigued or bored and decided to try one of the other soups offered.

Zuppa Toscana - yummy! Little bits of sausage and potato floating around with just enough red pepper flakes to zing your tongue. I didn't really think the waiter at Olive Garden would be so obliging as to ask the cook for the recipe, so I went to and typed in the name, and sure enough - here it is: Super-Delicious Zuppa Toscana

"If you love Zuppa Toscana at your local chain Italian restaurant, you'll adore this soup. On a cold day you are sure to be warmed all the way down to your toes."

1 pound bulk mild italian sausage
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
4 slices bacon, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 large onion, diced
1 Tbsp minced garlic
5 cans chicken broth
6 potatoes, peels left on, thinly sliced
1 can cream of anything soup
1/2 box of frozen spinach

(My changes to the above: I used frozen meatballs, cut into fourths, and added four slices of leftover meatloaf from two nights ago, chopped up. I used dried onion flakes. I used chicken bouillon cubes, four of them with 4 cups of water. I peeled my potatoes - so a few changes.)

To a large crockpot add the sausage, red pepper flakes, onion flakes, garlic and set on low.

Dissolve chicken bouillon cubes in hot water. Add to crockpot along with the potatoes. One hour before serving add the can of soup and frozen spinach. I bet you won't taste the difference between this one and O.G.'s version! This should be a soup hearty enough to please most husbands, especially if you serve some breadsticks, salad on the side and cheese on everything!

So drag out your crockpot, put this on to cook. Then go for a nice walk and listen to the rustle of the leaves. We have some type of soup or stew every Monday night, then one of us settles in to watch the football game tonight, and one of us grabs her knitting.


Gretchen said...

Y.u.m.m.y. I just may have to steal from one of my favorite GRITSs.

Barb said...

You'd be surprised how many times I've asked the waiter if the cook would share his recipe for something with me, and even more surprised how often they're more than happy to.

I asked for the formula Carino's uses in their bread dipping oil and they told me right away. Funny, though, it's not nearly as good as the Italian Butter recipe you and I use. :-)

This soup sounds wonderful and I love it that you toss leftover meatloaf into it. xoxo

Trudy said...

That's my favorite soup there too, especially in Fall or Winter. Thank you for being so clever and sharing the recipe.

Fonda said...

Funny...I made our version of this just yesterday. It was delicious! My absolutely favorite soup.

Susanne said...

Yum, yum, yum! And I agree, cheese, and more of it, makes everything better.

amanda said...

LOVE the Zuppa Toscano! On a cold day, I can eat that and forget the yummy salad! Thanks for the recipe!

joan said...

I just brought a new crockpot today. My friend just gave me the recipe for Pasta E Fagioli, it looks like she got if off a site calle I haven't tried it yet but love this soup.

Pam said...


Thank you, thank you, thank you! This is my favorite Olive Garden soup, and now I can make it at home!! Wowie, wow, wow! Yumm-O. I can't wait! I'll let you know how mine turns out.

Thanks again. : )

Kelly said...

Yum! This is one the wole family likes, and I can't wait to try

Paulette said...

Hey Bev!
Ahhhh Zuppa Touscana my favorite. My daughter took Friday off and we went to Olive Garden and had it!! I have also made it homemade and it tastes exactly like it!!
Good to come and read you today.
Be Blessed....