Typical zuppa toscana uses potatoes but I prefer pasta so mine has pasta! If you want potatoes, by all means swap in diced potatoes and follow the same instructions.
This soup is cozy and filling and really well rounded. The sausage brings in a lot of good flavor and the fresh rosemary + time make it extra comforting. It’s the perfect cold weather soup and I find myself making it often.
Time: 45 minutes ish
Yields: two large bowls of soup
1/2 of a medium white or yellow onion
1/2 of a medium fennel bulb
1 trimmed leek
2 celery stalks
2 medium carrots
olive oil, salt, pepper
red pepper flakes (optional)
2 spicy Italian sausages (pork or chicken!)
1 carton chicken broth
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, diced
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
1 tablespoon dried tarragon
1/3 cup orzo or other small pasta (uncooked)
2 handfuls of chopped kale
1/4 cup heavy cream
Start by dicing all of your veggies (onion, fennel, leek, celery, carrot) - I like to dice them all into about 1cm pieces but you could leave them larger!
Add a glug or two of olive oil to a Dutch oven or soup pot, bring the heat up to medium low. Add in your chopped veggies with a pinch of salt and pepper (also red pepper flakes if using). Stir and let them cook down for about 10 minutes or until softened, stirring occasionally.
While the veggies are cooking down, remove the sausage from its casing and sauté in a skillet over medium heat. You don’t need to add olive oil or anything because the sausage has fat in it. Break the sausage up into smaller pieces as it cooks. Sauté until fully cooked and lightly crisped or golden on the edges.
Once the veggies have cooked down, add a splash of chicken broth to deglaze the pan. Add in the rosemary, thyme, and tarragon and stir. Let that cook for a couple of minutes, then add the full carton of chicken broth. Bring the chicken broth to a simmer, add in the orzo, cover the pot for 5-10 minutes, adjust the heat to low.
After 5-10 minutes, remove the lid. Stir in the sausage and kale and cover for another 5-10 minutes so everything heats up.
Uncover, add in the heavy cream, give it a good stir (this is my favorite part). Give it a little taste test and adjust as necessary - it shouldn’t be bitter thanks to the cream but if it is add a drop of honey. If its a little bland, add a pinch of salt.
Split into bowl and enjoy!!!!!