Since I have vegetarians at most of our gatherings, I like to make a little something for them too when I'm hosting - my Pasta e Fagioli Soup pairs perfectly with this Zuppa Toscana soup and J. Lohr Estates Riverstone Chardonnay as well.
1 pound bulk hot Italian sausage
3/4 teaspoon crushed Aleppo pepper, or if you like it really spicy red pepper flakes
4 slices of bacon, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 large white onion, diced
2 large garlic cloves, minced
2 quarts chicken broth
4 medium sized Russet potatoes, scrubbed clean and cut into cubes
1 cup heavy cream
1 bunch Tuscan or Lacinato kale, ribs removed, leaves sliced into ribbons
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
To serve: pair giant bowls of this Zuppa Toscana with crusty bread and chilled glasses of J. Lohr Estates Riverstone Chardonnay
In a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat cook the Italian sausage and Aleppo pepper. Cook until crumbling and browned, no longer pink, about 10-15 minutes. Drain any excess grease and set aside.
Reduce the heat to medium. Cook the bacon in the same Dutch oven until crisp, about 12 minutes. Drain, leaving a tablespoon of drippings in the bottom of the pan with the bacon. Add the onions and garlic to the pan and cook until softened and translucent, about 5 minutes.
Pour the broth into the Dutch oven with the bacon and onion mixture; bring to a boil over high heat. Add the potatoes, and boil until fork tender, about 20 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium and stir in the heavy cream and the cooked sausage; heat through. Mix the shredded kale into the soup right before serving. One the kale is wilted add the nutmeg. Serve immediately.
Not a fan of the heat?! That's ok! Simply use mild Italian sausage and omit the pepper flakes.