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Brian's Zuppa Toscana

Updated: Feb 22

Here's a soup I heartily recommend when it's cold outside! I created this menu highlight to kick off a recent Italian-themed family dinner party. Now you can make it too. (This is NOT your neighborhood Olive Garden's zuppa.)

What makes it Brian's zuppa? Well, I add the celery from the Italian soffritto, bay leaves for flavor, I swap kidney for cannellini beans, prosecco for white wine. No heavy cream or half & half. Swiss chard rather than kale. That's my Tuscan zuppa.

This one is a website (and newsletter) exclusive. You won't see it in my best-selling cookbook however there are plenty of other great soup, and Italian recipes to choose from!

Goodness straight from the pot.

Brian's Zuppa Toscana

Makes 16 servings

2 pounds loose sweet Italian sausage

1 sweet onion, diced

4 stalks celery, diced

4 cloves garlic, minced

kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

2/3 cup of a nice prosecco

1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1 teaspoon dried oregano

2 bay leaves

2 russet potatoes, peeled, diced bite-sized (keep in a bowl of water until needed)

15.5 ounces red kidney beans

6 cups low sodium chicken broth

1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese

4 cups Swiss chard, de-stemmed, torn in bite-sized pieces

2 tablespoons butter

In a 6 or 7 quart dutch oven or other large heavy pot, over medium-high heat, cook sausage till just no longer pink. Add onion, celery, garlic, cook 5 minutes till celery softens and onion is translucent. Lightly salt and pepper mixture, stir.

Add prosecco to "insaporire" (flavor) the sausage-vegetables. Cook for 4 or 5 minutes until alcohol reduces by half. Add red pepper flakes, oregano, bay leaves.

Add potatoes, beans, broth, cheese. Stir thoroughly and cook at a lively simmer on medium heat 10 minutes. Add chard and butter, simmer another 10 minutes till potatoes are fork tender.

Remove bay leaves. Salt and pepper to taste - don't overdo it. Keep zuppa warm till serving, or refrigerate overnight, covered tightly, and reheat the next day for best flavor.

As you can see, they all went back for seconds! Grazie! Prego!

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