There are so many restaurants that I love, and most of them aren’t franchised. However, if I had to pick my favorite franchised place to eat, it would have to be Olive Garden. I mean, who doesn’t love Italian cuisine? Before the pandemic happened, once a year, in February, Cole and I would go to Olive Garden for a massive feast to celebrate both our birthdays and Valentine’s Day. During this dinner, we would get ALL the courses: drinks, soup and breadsticks, an appetizer, a pasta dish, and dessert. My favorite part of the dinner was the soup though. I always got their Zuppa Toscana, a garlicky delight full of sausage and potatoes.
While I love the original version of Zuppa, Cole and I are more of a poultry family, so when I discovered Italian Turkey Sausage, I knew I had to adjust the recipe that I was already working on perfecting to transform it into a turkey version instead. As always, I found that we enjoyed this soup much more when using poultry instead of pork.
1 lb Ground Italian Turkey Sausage
2 lbs Potatoes – about 6 medium
⅔ cup Diced Onion
¼ cup Bacon – cooked and chopped
2 tbsp Minced Garlic
5 cups Water
1 tsp Better Than Bouillon Turkey Base
⅛ tsp Cayenne Pepper
1 ½ cups Baby Kale
1 cup Heavy Whipping Cream
2 heaping tbsp Flour
1. Cook the bacon until it is completely done, then set it aside to cool.
2. Brown the turkey sausage in a hot skillet. It shouldn’t produce much grease, but when it is finished cooking use a slotted spoon to move it into the slow cooker just in case.
3. Slice the potatoes into ½ inch coins, then cut each of the coins into four pieces. Next dice the onion into ¼ inch pieces. Finally, cut the cooked bacon into tiny pieces.
4. Add the potatoes, onion, bacon, garlic, water, bouillon, and cayenne pepper into the slow cooker. Stir everything together and cook on low for 5 ½ hours.
5. After the soup has cooked for 5 ½ hours whisk the whipping cream and flour together until there are only small lumps of flour left. Pour the mixture into the soup.
6. Add the kale to the soup and stir everything together. Turn the slow cooker up to high and cook for another half hour.
While this soup is one of my absolute favorites, it is a slightly thinner soup, so I recommend serving it with bread sticks or my Italian Herb and Cheese Buns. If you love Italian food, this soup is a must try!