Authentic Zuppa Toscana


6 sliced bacon (or pancetta), diced

1 pound Italian sausage, casings removed

1 cup onion, diced

1 cup carrot, diced

1 cup celery, diced

1/2 teaspoon ground fennel seeds

1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

4 cloves garlic, chopped

6 cups chicken broth

1 pound potato, cut into bite sized pieces

4 cups kale, shredded

1 pound zucchini, cut into bite sized pieces

1/4 cup parmigiano reggiano (parmesan cheese), grated

1/2 cup cream

1 tablespoon lemon juice

2 tablespoons parsley, chopped


Cook the bacon in a large saucepan before setting it aside on paper towels to drain while reserving the bacon grease in the pan.

Cook the sausage in the same pan, breaking it apart into bite sized pieces as it cooks, before setting aside.

Add the onions, carrot and celery and cook over medium-high heat until tender, about 7-10 minutes.

Add the ground fennel seeds, red pepper flakes and garlic and cook until fragrant, about a minute.

Add the broth and deglaze the the pan by scraping up the brown bits from the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon as the broth sizzles.

Add the sausage and potatoes, bring to a boil, reduce the heat to get a simmer and cook until the potatoes are tender, about 10-15 minutes.

Nutrition Information:

Calories 494, Fat 35g (Saturated 13g, Trans 0), Cholesterol 85mg, Sodium 903mg, Carbs 24g (Fiber 3g, Sugars 7g), Protein 19g

Frequently Asked Questions:

Can I use pancetta instead of bacon in this recipe?

Yes, you can use pancetta instead of bacon for a slightly different flavor profile.

Both bacon and pancetta add richness and depth to the soup, so feel free to choose based on your preference or what you have available.

What kind of Italian sausage should I use?

You can use either mild or hot Italian sausage, depending on your preference for spiciness.

If you prefer a milder flavor, opt for mild Italian sausage.

Hot Italian sausage will add a bit of heat to the soup.

Do I have to use both bacon and Italian sausage?

While both bacon and Italian sausage contribute delicious flavors to the soup, you can choose to use only one type of meat if preferred.

Adjust the quantities accordingly based on your preference.

Can I substitute kale with other greens?

Yes, if you’re not a fan of kale or prefer a different type of green, you can substitute it with spinach, Swiss chard, or collard greens.

Adjust the cooking time as needed based on the type of greens you choose.

What does it mean to deglaze the pan?

Deglazing the pan involves adding a liquid (in this case, chicken broth) to the pan after cooking meat or vegetables to loosen and dissolve the flavorful browned bits stuck to the bottom of the pan.

This process helps incorporate those delicious flavors into the soup for added depth and richness.

Can I use other types of meat instead of bacon and Italian sausage?

While bacon and Italian sausage are traditional ingredients in Zuppa Toscana, you can experiment with other meats such as ham or even ground beef if you prefer.

Just adjust the cooking time and seasoning accordingly.

What can I substitute for kale if I can’t find it?

If kale is not available, you can substitute it with spinach or Swiss chard.

These greens will provide a similar texture and flavor to the soup.

Be mindful of adjusting the cooking time as spinach tends to cook faster than kale.

Is it necessary to use both chicken broth and cream in the soup?

While both chicken broth and cream contribute to the rich flavor and creamy texture of Zuppa Toscana, you can adjust the ratio according to your preference.

For a lighter version, you can use less cream or substitute with milk.

Vegetable broth can also be used as a substitute for chicken broth for a vegetarian option.

Can I omit the cheese from the recipe?

The grated Parmigiano Reggiano (Parmesan cheese) adds a distinct nutty flavor to the soup, but you can omit it if you prefer a dairy-free version or if you’re lactose intolerant.

The soup will still be flavorful without the cheese.

What is the purpose of adding lemon juice to the soup?

The lemon juice adds a touch of brightness and acidity to balance the richness of the soup.

It enhances the overall flavor profile and adds a refreshing element.

If you don’t have lemon juice on hand, you can substitute with a splash of white wine vinegar or omit it altogether.

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