Saturday, January 12, 2008

Little Italy

Picture from Olive Garden

I am a big fan of Olive Garden's Zuppa Toscana. It has been a while since I eaten there, but I remember I would always get full on their unlimited soup and bread sticks and doggy bag the entree home. Such a sweet deal!

A couple of years ago, Luke surprised me with an Italian meal on Valentine's Day. The menu featured calamari, bread sticks, Chicken Pesto sandwiches from Corner Bakery, Zuppa Toscana (!!) and tiramisu cheesecake (the cheesecake part was by accident, it was supposed to just be tiramisu). Except for the sandwiches, he made everything from scratch himself. He did such a wonderful job with everything, especially the soup! He really brought Olive Garden home to me. :) Since then, we've yet to go back to Olive Garden. We just make it at home.

Luke found the recipe here. To make it easier, I am posting the recipe on {sugarlens} as well. The recipe is very authentic and the result tastes just like the restaurant. I don't recommend eliminating any ingredients because it may take away some of the essential flavors.

Ingredients

* 1 lb ground Italian sausage
* 1½ tsp crushed red peppers
* 1 large diced white onion
* 4 Tbsp bacon pieces
* 2 tsp garlic puree
* 10 cups water
* 5 cubes of chicken bouillon
* 1 cup heavy cream
* 1 lb sliced Russet potatoes, or about 3 large potatoes
* ¼ of a bunch of kale

Steps

1. Sautee Italian sausage and crushed red pepper in pot. Drain excess fat, refrigerate while you prepare other ingredients.
2. In the same pan, sautee bacon, onions and garlic for approximately 15 minutes. or until the onions are soft.
3. Mix together the chicken bouillon and water, then add it to the onions, bacon and garlic. Cook until boiling.
4. Add potatoes and cook until soft, about half an hour.
5. Add heavy cream and cook until thoroughly heated.
6. Stir in the sausage.
7. Add kale just before serving.

Yummy, enjoy!! For a more tasty meal, eat it with crusty French bread.

And here is the spread that Luke prepared for me on V-day 2006. :) I wonder what he's going to cook up this year?? ;)

1 comment:

  1. Holy crap, 2006!? I remember that day as if it were yesterday. Yup, I drove all over the stinkin place looking for ingredients. Note, dumbass mascarponi cheese is hard to find. Only place I've been able to locate it is at Wegman's. So that means places like Safway and Giant don't stock it. But yeah, I learned that after I tried to make tiramisu. Another note, don't try to make tiramisu without mascarponi cheese. Cooking the soup was okay, hated frying the calamari but I enjoyed the baking. The bread sticks were my fav, I really like getting my hands on soft squishy things and massaging them over and over and over and....ahem...sorry, I was thinking about...um...other things. (^_^!)

    But Joyce was sweet enough to chow down on my experiment and still put on a smile. ^-^

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