Jan 9, 2011

Zuppa Toscano & Spicy Nuts (a two-fer!)

When you look at a map right now snow and freezing rain are reeking havoc across the US.  Luckily so far here in the valley, we are snow-free, regardless of the forecast showing a "wintry mix" for tonight.  It is however cold.  That kind of cold where just any meal wont cut it.  Its genuine "stick to your ribs" dinner kinda weather, and no better time to have a warm tasty soup!
There are about a million different recipes out there for this soup and the first time I made it I got the recipe from my friend "M," and of course I had to slightly modify it because...well because that is what I do!

Zuppa Toscano
an amalgamation of recipes.
1 lb Italian sausage (I used spicy the first time and the jimmy dean natural this time!)

Three large russet baking potatoes, sliced in thin slices with a mandolin
1 large onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups spinach chopped
2 cups chicken broth
1 cup heavy whipping cream or half and half (I used heavy w/c the first time and half and half this time.  I think milk would even be fine.)
fresh rosemary and oregano to taste
salt and pepper

In a large pot cook and drain sausage leaving a little bit of grease in the pot. Add onion and garlic sauteing until translucent.  Add potatoes to the pot and then cover with chicken broth and allow to simmer until potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes.  Stir in spinach, rosemary and oregano and salt and pepper and continue to simmer for five minutes.  Stir in heavy cream right before you are ready to serve it and bring it back to a low boil.  Serve immediately.

So many jokes tonight while SA and I were cooking dinner. I mean how many meals can you cook when you can joke around about sausage and spicy nuts? Yes, sometimes SA and I have the humour of a 14 year old boy. However I digress! This recipe is wonderful and one that I got from my friend K.  Back in another lifetime I used to live with K and his wife at the time and they would cook up some fantastic grub, one of the things being these salad condiments. This recipe (not really a recipe more like just some quick directions) is great because its so flexible. Out of almonds? Use cashews? Don't have brown sugar? Use white! Don't like em spicy? You are lame!  Don't add the spice! etc.

Spicy Nuts

1/2 c Almonds
1/4 c. brown sugar
red pepper flakes to taste (I used chipolte red pepper flakes)
coarse salt

In a small pot combine almonds and brown sugar over low heat.  Stir constantly and until sugar reaches the caramel or light brown stage (about 330 degrees.) pour nuts onto a cooking sheet lined with parchment and sprinkle with red pepper flakes and coarse salt.  Refrigerate for 15 minutes or until firm.
These rock my ever loving socks on salad.
Tonight we had a salad of spinach topped with carrots, spicy nuts, blueberry dehydrates cranberries and a quick citrus vinaigrette! YUM!


Sir Steven said...

That soup looks and sounds absolutely delicious. I may have to add it to my list of things you've made that I have to try my hand at.

Krista said...

I've had this Zuppa Toscano on my list for a long time! YUM! The nuts look oh-so-delicious too. : )

Kristen said...

My sister in law was just telling me how good zuppa Toscano is. Your version looks delightful. How can sausage and potatoes go wrong?!

aggieam01 said...

OMG! Why do you live so far away??!!!

Katerina said...

I have never tried this type of soup but from the photo I think I must do it asap.

Miriam said...

Oh my, your recipes look and sound delicious!! Have a nice weekend from Miriam@Meatless Meals For Meat Eaters

Mary said...

The soup sounds wonderful. It's awfully gray here and the soup will warm body and soul. I hope you have a wonderful day. Blessings...Mary