Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Olive Garden Endless Soup & Salad

Last Saturday the husband & I decided to pull out the Christmas decor & get to decorating the house. Last year, we braved the day after Christmas sales at our local Target & stocked up on outdoor lighting & decorations. (I'll post some pictures of that later)

Since we would be spending most of the day outside, and there was a slight chill in the air, I decided to make a few soups for lunch & dinner. Apparently I was recreating OG endless soup & salad b/c the two soups I made are both on that menu.

First up I made Zuppa Toscano. I found the recipe over at Amber's Delectable Delights. I pretty much followed to recipe to a T, except that I already have some Italian Sausage cooked. So instead of crumble sausage, we had chunks. I wish I had caught that she mashed some of the potatoes b/c that would have made the consistency much better. Our was a little soupy & little oily. It was still delicious.

1 pound spicy Italian sausage - crumbled
1/2 pound smoked bacon - chopped
4 cups water
2, 14.5 ounce cans (about 3 2/3 cups) chicken broth
2 large russet potatoes - scrubbed clean, cubed
2 garlic cloves - peeled, crushed
1 medium onion - peeled, chopped
2 cups chopped kale OR Swiss chard --> I used Spinach
1 cup heavy whipping cream
salt and pepper - to taste

1. In a skillet over medium-high heat, brown sausage, breaking into small pieces as you fry it; drain, set aside.
2. In a skillet over medium-high heat, brown bacon; drain, set aside.
3. Place water, broth, potatoes, garlic, and onion in a pot; simmer over medium heat until potatoes are tender.
4. Add sausage and bacon to pot; simmer for 10 minutes.
5. Add kale and cream to pot; season with salt and pepper; heat through.

I also made minestrone soup. I liked the recipe however, I would have liked more beans in it. I felt they were drown out by all the vegetables. I really liked the recipe because I was able to use some of the frozen vegetables from the garden.

2 teaspoons olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano
4 garlic cloves, minced
3 cups chopped yellow squash
3 cups chopped zucchini
1 cup chopped carrot
1 cup fresh corn kernels (about 2 ears) --> I used canned corn
4 cups chopped tomato, divided
3 (14-ounce) cans fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth, divided
1/2 cup uncooked ditalini pasta (very short tube-shaped macaroni)
1 (15.5-ounce) can Great Northern beans, rinsed and drained
1 (6-ounce) package fresh baby spinach
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup (4 ounces) grated Asiago cheese
Coarsely ground black pepper (optional)

Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onion to pan; sauté 3 minutes or until softened. Add oregano and garlic; sauté 1 minute. Stir in squash, zucchini, carrot, and corn; sauté 5 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Remove from heat.

Place 3 cups tomato and 1 can broth in a blender; process until smooth. Add tomato mixture to pan; return pan to heat. Stir in remaining 1 cup tomato and remaining 2 cans broth; bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes.

Add pasta and beans to pan; cook 10 minutes or until pasta is tender, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat. Stir in spinach, salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Ladle soup into individual bowls; top with cheese. Garnish with coarsely ground black pepper, if desired.

This was a nice healthy option to the very unhealthy Zuppa Tuscano. For lunch we just had soup, but for dinner I added a tossed Italian Salad & breadsticks. The minestrone made a TON of soup. I froze about half it & we still had enough for 3 days of lunches for 2 people. The Zuppa made about half as much as the minestrone.


Monica Ricci said...

Julie, a few weekends ago, a girlfriend and I went up to my mountain house and did a soup cooking marathon. We ended up with six huge pots of homemade soup that we split and filled our freezers with. One of them was my own iteration of Olive Garden's Zuppa Toscana. I didn't have a recipe, I just tried to remember what was in it from the last time I had it.

I started by de-casing 3 Italian sausages, crumbling them and browning them. Then I added them to a mixture of homemade chicken stock and pureed potatoes, chopped onion, and chopped kale. It came out even better than Olive Garden, because the potato puree makes it a really nice creamy consistency instead of being brothy with chunks of potato.

Love your blog!

Anonymous said...

Because the potato puree makes it a really nice creamy consistency instead of being brothy with chunks of potato.