Copycat Zuppa Toscana
This Level 2: Mildly Thick Copycat Zuppa Toscana is everything you love about that family-style Italian chain restaurant, but from the comfort of your own home! It blends into a beautiful, creamy soup that everyone can enjoy.
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That small town life
Growing up, I lived in a very small town in Illinois. When most of you think of a “small town,” you’re thinking a couple thousand people, but my town is even smaller. I’m talking 650 people small, and there’s not a stop light for thirty miles in either direction. Downtown is one block long and there are several small businesses. That doesn’t include a grocery store, though a Dollar General was added in the last couple of years.
This made getting groceries a half day event. You couldn’t just run to the store and get milk, you had to drive thirty minutes (and thirty miles) to the nearest Walmart. Thankfully, my parents were amazing cooks and always planned out meals for the week. We got a huge grocery haul every weekend, and my parents cooked whatever we felt like eating.
Because we lived so far from most things, we didn’t go out to eat too much. Once I got my drivers license, my friends and I would cross state lines into Iowa and go eat at Olive Garden. I can remember going there for countless dates and dinners with friends.
This Level 2: Mildly Thick Copycat Zuppa Toscana is easy to make at home!
Nowadays, I still like Olive Garden, but I prefer to support small, local businesses. Because I do love their soups, I try to replicate them best I can at home. This recipe is very easy and doesn’t require a lot of ingredients!
Personally, I have a pot of kale that grows in my backyard. I went outside and picked a couple of leaves for this recipe. Kale is really easy to find at your local grocery store. Lots of people are scared of kale (my father included), but I encourage you to give it a try! It blends up well in this recipe and tastes good too.
I used my nutribullet to blend this soup. It came out extremely creamy, something that I wasn’t expecting. It’s almost as if the flavors were enhanced because it was blended. I did run it through a sieve because there were a couple of small pieces of italian sausage that didn’t blend perfectly.
Level 2: Mildly Thick
Level 2: Mildly Thick is appropriate for individuals who need drinks to flow more slowly, or may have slightly reduced tongue control. These foods flow quickly off a spoon but require mild effort to drink through a standard straw. Foods are tested using the Flow Test at this level.
The IDDSI Flow Test is a standardized test for determining the level of a liquid sample. You must have a 10ml syringe for this test, and not all syringes are created equal. Hold a ruler up to your syringe and the distance from the very bottom line to the 10ml mark must measure 61.5 mm. We recommend watching IDDSI’s Youtube video of the Flow Test as well as this comparison between Levels 1-3 before you cook as well as during the testing of your final modified portion.
Always test your food before serving to ensure that it meets all the IDDSI testing guidelines.
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Level 2: Mildly Thick Copycat Zuppa Toscana
- 4 sweet italian sausage links
- 1 onion chopped
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1 lg russet potato cubed
- 6 cup chicken broth
- 2 cup chopped kale
- ½ cup half and half
- Red pepper flakes to taste
- Heat a large pot over medium heat. Remove sausage from casing and add to pot. Cook until browned.
- Remove the italian sausage from the pot with a slotted spoon and place onto a plate with a paper towel.
- Add onion to the pot with the grease from the italian sausage. (If there’s not much grease, use additional olive oil.) Cook onions 4-5 minutes, then add garlic. Cook for an additional 30 seconds.
- Add in the cubed russet potato and chicken broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook ~20 minutes, or until potatoes are softened.
- Add chopped kale. Cover the pot and allow kale to wilt for several minutes.
- Add in red pepper flakes to taste. Warm half and half slightly in the microwave so it doesn’t curdle when it touches the hot soup. Once warmed, add into the soup.
- Taste for seasoning, and add salt and pepper as needed.
- Use an immersion blender or add soup to a big blender. Blend until completely smooth. Pour soup through a fine mesh sieve to remove any small bits.
- Serve warm and enjoy!