While it pains me to say this, there are actually a few things that I enjoy at Olive Garden. And no, it's not their four-cheese lasagna rollatini topped with shrimp-sausage-and-asiago alfredo sauce (which, per the best commercials ever, seems to be how they top everything. I'll pass).
You see, the OG is best when it sticks to the basics -- mainly their beloved breadsticks, simple salads and some surprisingly good soups. The Zuppa Toscana has been a favorite of mine since childhood and since I don't frequent the chain, I've re-created the spicy sausage soup at home.
Heat non-stick pot over medium-high heat. Add crumbled sausage and chopped bacon and cook until browned. Remove from pot and drain any excess oil.
To the same pot, add in chopped onion and cook until slightly softened, about 2-3 minutes. Stir in minced garlic and cook for another minute. Add crushed red pepper to taste.
Meanwhile, halve and slice potatoes, skin-on, into ¼-inch-thick slices. Add chicken stock and sliced potatoes to pot and reduce heat to low. Simmer until potatoes are tender, about 20 to 30 minutes.
Add chopped kale, sausage and bacon and cook for another 5 minutes. To finish, stir in half and half and cook until heated through. Taste and season with salt if needed.
Top the creamy, spicy soup with freshly ground black pepper and serve with warm garlic breadsticks.
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