Creamed sausage, potato and cabbage soup a la zuppa Toscana

If I had access to kale, I’d have used a bunch in lieu of white cabbage. If I had, this would be a real Zuppa Toscana, that famed Italian soup that chef Emeril Lagasse swears his mother cooks the best version of. But I don’t know where to buy kale — in my lonely corner of suburbia or anywhere else in this country. Armed with the information that it is a variety of cabbage, I figured I’d just use white cabbage.

The result is a hearty soup that is a complete meal by itself. So rich, so filling, so comforting. Perfect for the rainy weather.

What, exactly, is Zuppa Toscana aside from the fact that kale is an ingredient? Essentially, it is a sausage and vegetables soup to which cream is added. To draw out all the flavors from the sausage meat, it is first browned then simmered slowly with the vegetables. The cream is added toward the end.

Some notes before going into the recipe. First, any soup starts with good broth. Really good broth. I always recommend homemade broth.

I like to make a huge pot then freeze the broth in batches so that every time I want to make soup, all I have to do is thaw one container.

I understand that making broth from scrap bones isn’t up everyone’s alley. There are canned broths in the market. Or even broth cubes. But I really and empathically discourage those with MSG — not for health reasons but because MGS drowns out the flavors of the other ingredients in the dish.

Second, what sausage to use? Italian sausage is associated with sausages seasoned with paprika (ergo, they appear reddish) and are both hot and a bit sweet. While you can use any sausage that you like (canned Vienna sausage and hotdogs don’t really count), I suggest you choose a spicy kind. We buy ours from Monterey. Note though that different outlets have different standards for sausage-making. Sausages from Monterey at Cherry’s Supermarket in Antipolo are just terrible, for instance. We like the sausages from Monterey Marcos Highway in Cainta just outside Town & Country Executive Homes. I’ll leave it to you to source your sausage and the rest of the ingredients.

Recipe: Creamed sausage, potato and cabbage soup a la zuppa Toscana


  • about 200 g. of spicy sausage
  • 1/2 c. of chopped onion
  • 1 c. of dry white wine (please don’t ask for brands — any wine you’d care to drink will be good enough)
  • 2 c. of cubed potatoes
  • 1 c. of cubed carrots
  • 2 to 3 c. of sliced white cabbage
  • about 8 c. of broth
  • salt, to taste
  • 1 c. of cream (please click here before asking what brand of cream)
  • 1/4 c. of chopped parsley


  2. Slit the sausage skin, peel off and discard. Break the sausage meat into small clumps.
  4. Cook the sausage meat until lightly browned (there is no need to add oil since the sausage meat will render its own fat).
  6. Add the chopped onion and cook gently over medium heat with occasional stirring until the onion bits soften slightly.
  8. Don’t worry if brown matter starts to form at the bottom of the pan. That is FLAVOR.
  10. Pour in the wine. Stir and scrape the bottom of the pan.¬†We are know deglazing to remove the brown matter that’s sticking on the pan and to get all the flavors into the soup. Let the mixture boil gently for about five minutes to allow the alcohol to evaporate, leaving only the rich flavors of the wine in the pot.
  12. Add the carrots, potatoes and cabbage. Stir.
  14. Pour in the broth, little by little. Use only enough to cover the meat and vegetables. Season with salt. Bring to the boil, cover and simmer for at least 30 minutes. That should be just enough time to cook the vegetables through. For best results, halfway through the 30-minute cooking time, taste the broth and add more salt, as needed.
  16. Pour in the cream. Stir. When the mixture starts to simmer, turn off the heat and stir in the parsley. Taste and add more salt if needed.
  17. Creamed sausage and vegetables soup a la zuppa Toscana
  18. Serve the soup hot with buttered bread.

Preparation time: 10 minute(s)

Cooking time: 45 minute(s)

Number of servings (yield): 4


  1. potpot says

    Can I use longganisang Lucban? It’s very smoky and spicy. My boyfriend doesn’t fry them, instead he cooks it in a tablespoon of water. He says the oils naturally come out anyway.
    I have to try this when I get home. Looks yummy! :D

  2. Ginnie says

    Miss Connie this is my favorite soup at The Olive Garden !! I tried making it by frying some bacon then putting the italian sausage in it. Yum on a cold night.

  3. crisma says

    This is really a meal by itself. In Tagalog, ‘wla ka nang hahanapin pa.’ Great for cold nights. Or rainy nights.

  4. potpot says

    Ma’am Connie,
    What are your opinions about induction cooking? I’m gonna move to a new place soon and I’m thinking of purchasing an induction stove. They say it’s more energy efficient and better for the environment. I just wanted to ask around before making a decision since I don’t know anyone who owns one. Thanks! :D

  5. Denise says

    Hi Ms Connie! If kale and “kailan” are one and the same, they are almost always available in Binondo (at Arranque market along Recto Ave. or at Carvajal St in Binondo – prices in Carvajal St is a bit expensive though because of high rentals in the heart of Chinatown). It is also available in weekend markets if I am not mistaken. :-)

  6. Jol says

    I love Zuppa Toscana. I feel for you when you can’t find the star ingredient that makes the dish. Kale.. I want to help you find that comes close to it, I even did a quick research before posting here but I didn’t find any that I think taste the same as kale that’s available there, maybe try young bok choy, without including the white stalks, its a bit closer to Kale, very mild taste but with a little bit of bitterness. I love cabbage, but cabbage will alter the taste of the dish being a Zuppa Toscana.

  7. belle says

    hi miss connie. i added farfalle and parang naging sopas na (Filipino style). is it supposed to be like the pinoy sopas, or i did something wrong perhaps? but still, very good. thank you for making it look so easy that i could not resist making it!

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