Kale. Even the word is foreign to me. I grew up in a household where vegetables were of pretty simple varieties – corn, peas, green beans and the occasional zucchini. Brussels sprouts were a delicacy and any lettuce other than iceberg was certainly special. I had a feeling there were more vegetables out there, but I couldn’t quite figure out what they were.
I’ve learned a lot since then. For instance, beet greens are not only edible but they really taste good as a bruschetta. And fiddlehead greens have a really unique taste and texture.
In any case, back to the kale. My husband loves Olive Garden’s Zuppa Toscana soup, so I decided to try making it at home. I searched the internet and found literally dozens of recipes for it. Each had things good and bad about them, so I used them as a guideline and drafted my own. It was received with rave reviews from both my husband and from the much harder to please stepson. It goes without saying that my son loved it.
Kale is a variety of cabbage. The kale I purchased had curly-edged leaves, though there are other varieties with flat leaves and the such. Kale likes cooler weather and is grown widely in North America and Europe.
Kale should have firm, deep green leaves that are free from spotting, wilting or discoloration.
Discovering Kale: Zuppa Toscana
- 4 cups water
- 4 cups chicken broth
- 3 large potatoes sliced about 1/4 inch thick
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 1 medium onion finely chopped
- 1 lb. spicy Italian sausage browned and crumbled
- 1/2 lb. bacon browned and crumbled
- 2 cups kale finely chopped
- 1 cup heavy cream
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Combine the water, broth, potatoes, garlic, and onion into a pot. Cook over high heat until the potatoes are fork tender.
- Stir in the sausage and bacon and simmer for 10 minutes.
- Stir in kale and heavy cream and season with salt and pepper. Cook for an additional 3-4 minutes.
Sarah Walker Caron is a cookbook author, freelance writer and founder of Sarah’s Cucina Bella. Her latest cookbook is The Super Easy 5-Ingredient Cookbook, published by Rockridge Press, which focuses on quick, easy, from-scratch cooking for busy people. A single mother to two kids in middle school, Sarah loves nightly family dinners, juicy tomatoes plucked fresh from the vine and lazy days on the beach. She also adores reading and traveling.