Weather: 23 degrees, clear and dark
What I’m listening to: To Build a Home, The Cinematic Orchestra

The big news around here is that our family is moving into a new home just down the road a ways from where we currently live. While I am excited about this new chapter – having friends as neighbors on all sides and enjoying a priceless view of Cook Inlet and the Mt. Redoubt volcano for starters – I will be somewhat sad to see our current house go. We have lived in this house longer than any other; it has been our only Alaska home and it has been my favorite house yet. We have countless memories here of all the ways that our Alaska life has taken shape, the friends and family who have enjoyed meals at our table, the holidays and birthdays and the everydays, and all the growing and healing and changing that has occurred in the lives of people under this roof.

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One of the most bittersweet things about this move is that this is the place where Alaska from Scratch came to be – the kitchen where I rekindled my passion nourishing people through food, and day after day, gradually and steadily, a food blogger was born here. This kitchen and I have a rhythm. I love the way the sunlight casts golden beams through the window over the spacious stainless steel farm sink, daily creating a natural and beautiful staging place for food photography. I adore the ample pantry with her sliding shelves and the recipe notes I’ve taped to the inside of the door. I have a particular fondness for the way the gas range can sear a piece of salmon or the way the oven bakes a perfectly golden chewy-soft cookie. I will miss the open counter space where I’ve tested and tasted so many recipes I’ve happily lost track of all time and quantity. These pale wood floors and these white walls and these stainless steel appliances all tell a marvelous story – of food filled with love, a kitchen filled with music, a woman who found her voice, and all the readers who showed up and listened.

Zuppa Toscana {Creamy Potato & Kale Soup with Italian Sausage}

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Creamy, spicy potato and kale soup with Italian sausage. Similar to Olive Garden’s Zuppa Toscana. Adapted from [Damn Delicious|http://damndelicious.net/2013/12/07/olive-garden-zuppa-toscana-copycat-recipe/].

Yields: 6 servings

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 pound italian sausage
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes (or to taste)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 3 small russet potatoes, thinly sliced
  • 2 cups kale, finely chopped
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • salt and pepper to taste

To a large pot over medium heat, add the olive oil. Brown the sausage until no longer pink. Add the red pepper flakes, garlic, and onion and cook, stirring often, until the onions a translucent and the garlic is fragrant, about 4 minutes. Add the chicken broth, potatoes, and kale. Bring the broth to a simmer, reduce the heat to medium-low, and cook until the potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes. Remove the soup from the heat, stir in the cream, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Ladle into soup bowls and serve.

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