Zuppa Toscana with Raisin-y Gremolata & Fried Bread

By: Dan Pelosie aka GrossyPelosi

SERVES: 6

“When you’re here, you’re family honey!” Pick a booth and belly up because never ending soup, salad, and breadsticks is back and here to stay in a big way!!! When soup season hits, warm memories of crisp fall days come flooding back to me like the creamy broth in this rosy rendition of the Olive Garden’s iconic Zuppa Toscana. A ladling of hot soup over olive oil fried garlic bread and topped with tangy raisin gremolata is the absolute SERVE of the season. –Dan Pelosi

Active Time: 40 Mins

Total Time: 1 hrs 10 mins

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Produce

  • 2 medium russet potatoes
  • 1 bunch Tuscan kale
  • 1 bunch Italian parsley
  • 6 garlic cloves
  • 1 lemon

Pantry

  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground fennel
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 15 ounce can cannellini beans
  • 1 8 ounce can tomato puree
  • 32 ounce vegetable or chicken stock
  • kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 1” thick slices of crusty bread
  • ½ cup raisins
  • ⅓ cup red wine vinegar

Dairy

  • 1 ¼ cups heavy cream

Protein

  • 6 ounces of ground sweet italian sausage, casings removed

1. Prep the zuppa ingredients:

  • Dice 2 medium russet potatoes (skins and all!) into ½ inch pieces.
  • Thinly slice 4 garlic cloves.
  • Strip the leaves of 1 bunch of Tuscan kale and tear into small pieces.
  • Open 1 can cannellini beans, reserve the liquid in the cannellini beans to pour into the pot.

2. Build the soup:

  • Heat a big glug of olive oil in a large dutch oven over medium high heat. Add the sausage and cook for stirring occasionally, until sizzling and browned, 5-7 minutes. Break up the sausage with a spoon, and then scoot it to the side of the pot.
  • Reduce the heat to medium low, add 1 teaspoon smoked paprika and 1 teaspoon ground fennel seed and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds.
  • Stir in the sliced garlic cloves, 2 tablespoons tomato paste and cook, stirring, until it turns dark and begins to stick to the bottom of the pot, 2 minutes.
  • Stir in 8 ounces tomato puree, 1¼ cups heavy cream, 4 cups stock, the kale, potatoes, beans and their liquid. Season well with salt and pepper–it will need a lot of salt! Bring to a boil, cover leaving the lid slightly ajar, and then let simmer gently for 30 minutes, until the potatoes are tender and flavors have mingled.

3. Fry the bread and make the raisin-y gremolata:

  • In a small bowl, cover the raisins with red wine vinegar and set aside to soak while the soup simmers.
  • Heat ¼ cup of olive oil in a large skillet and add in 4 slices of the bread, turning them over to coat. Let the bread fry until golden brown. Continue in the same fashion with the last four slices, replenishing the olive oil if needed.
  • Transfer the bread to a plate or baking sheet and rub with 2 raw cloves of garlic; season with salt.
  • Drain and finely chop the raisins.
  • Finely chop 2 cloves of garlic, and 1 bunch parsley. Stir into a small bowl along with the raisins, the finely grated zest of 1 lemon.

4. Serve:

  • Taste the soup and re-season with salt and pepper as needed. Ladle the soup amongst bowls and wedge the fried garlic bread into the soup. Cover with a large spoonful of gremolata and SERVE!

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