Autumn arrived with chilled temps and nearly nonstop rain. I’m not complaining and it doesn’t slow me down. After church on Sundays, our social group gathers at the YMCA to play Pickleball. It’s very much like 4 player tennis that’s played indoors with a paddle, a whiffle ball and we play for nearly 3 hrs.
It had been so cool that I broke out my athletic leggings and a long sleeved T-shirt. By the end of the 1st game, I THOUGHT I WAS GOING TO DIE! I was profusely sweating and so hot, I couldn’t breathe! I had to pull the leggings up over my knees and sleeves to elbows before going on.
Afterward, we went to Pier One Imports for a couple large pictures for the house and stopped by the grocery for a few supplies. On the way home, we noticed the Fall Festival sign at the city park and pulled in.
The temperature had been in decline throughout the day and as we walked among the booths in the misty rain, I began to shiver. Clay offered me his jacket but I refused, relishing the chill and the warmth of the hot cocoa and cidar the vendors handed out.
Arriving home late, I needed a quick meal plan that could melt the chill from my bones. Zuppa would definitely fit the bill. Even the name sounds like a celebration, Zuppa!
Zuppa Toscana ( Soup in the style of Tuscany)
1 pound Hot Italian sausage ( if links, remove the casings)
1 1/4 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes
4 slices bacon, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 large onion, diced
1 tablespoon minced garlic
5 (13.75 ounce) cans chicken broth
6 potatoes, diced
1 cup heavy cream
2 big handfuls of fresh spinach, tough stems removed, rough chopped
Salt & Pepper to taste
Cook the Italian sausage and red pepper flakes in a soup pot over medium-high heat until well browned. Drain and set aside.
Cook the bacon in the same pot over medium heat until crisp. Drain, leaving a few tablespoons of drippings with the bacon in the bottom of the pot. Stir in the onions and garlic; cook about 5 minutes.
Pour the chicken broth into the pot and bring to a boil over high heat. Add the potatoes, and boil until fork tender, about 20 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium. Allow to cool about 5 mins then stir in the heavy cream, sausage and spinach. Simmer about 15 min.
Serve with hot crusty bread.