Toscana Casserole – A New Take on Zuppa Toscana

Sometimes, using the Crock-Pot is just not where it’s at. A few weeks ago, Tyler and I had an idea to make a casserole using the ingredients from our favorite soup. However, I just needed to refine the recipe before making it. In this blog, I am going to share a recipe we created, Toscana Casserole.

Toscana Casserole half eaten in baking pan

Disclosure
Published October 18, 2022
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Cost breakdown for this recipe

This recipe literally costs the same as making Zuppa Toscana. It is the same ingredients, just made into a casserole! How neat is that?!
If you have a family member that does not typically like Crock-Pot meals, then this recipe is perfect for you.

12 Russet Potatoes $2.20
1 Onion $0.40
Heavy cream $1.55
Garlic clove $0.50
Kale $0.80
Mild Italian Sausage $2.59
Pork Sausage $2.98

The total cost to make this Toscana Casserole was $11.02.
This casserole was unbelievably delicious. For real. It was creamy, full of flavor, the potatoes were tender and not mushy, and the cheese on top added the right amount of texture and cheesiness.
In comparison to Zuppa Toscana, made in a Crock-Pot, this one has become my new favorite.

If you ever love a recipe, why not try to make it into something else? Mixing up the routine and changing how you cook certain ingredients can completely transform dinners from the same routine each week, to a completely new recipe that will then win your family over.

Toscana Casserole resting after baked in baking pan

Why make a casserole?

The day that this recipe was invented, we did not have the time to focus on cooking dinner. While in the basement, working on our remodeling project, this busy momma forgot to put in dinner. Or make dinner for that matter.
Have you been there?
The day gets ahead of you, and you completely forget that you have people to feed.
And then, when you look at the weekly menu planner and the recipe was Crock-Pot Zuppa Toscana and remember that it takes hours to cook.
You guys, it was an epic failure. What did this momma do? We had frozen pizza for dinner, because sometimes life is about survival and not thriving. I recently had a good friend say that to me, and it really stuck with me.
“Survival and not thriving.” Am I right?!
So, with twenty minutes to prep, and then cook in the oven for an hour, this dinner was born.

insulation and drywall in the basement project

Keep watch for the next phase of our basement remodel project, as we spent this weekend working on insulation and then drywall.
Also, click the link below for my recipe for a copycat Olive Garden Zuppa Toscana soup that you can make in your Crock-Pot!

Casserole Recipe

Ingredients

16oz Mild Italian Sausage
16oz pork sausage
1 onion
3-4 garlic cloves, minced
12 Russett Potatoes
3 cups heavy cream
2 cups water
3 tsp beef soup base
2 cups kale, chopped

ingredients for Toscana Casserole on countertop

Directions

1. On the stove, warm a medium saucepan and then spray with non-stick spray. Add the mild Italina sausage and pork sausage and cook until browned.
For this recipe, we used a 50/50 mix of mild Italian sausage with pork sausage to balance the flavor of the fennel seeds.
Feel free to use hot Italian sausage, beef, or whatever kind you prefer.

2. Cut, peel and then dice an onion, adding it to the cooking sausage.

3. In a sink colander, rinse the Russett potatoes and then peel the skins off.

4. Once the potatoes are peeled, use a mandolin and thinly slice the potatoes.

5. Once the meat is cooked, make a hole in the center of the pan and then add 3-4 Tbsp minced garlic and sauté until fragrant, 1-2 minutes.
Recently, I have not had luck with buying heads of garlic. Either the cloves are sour, rotten, or go bad too fast. To combat food waste, buying minced garlic and leaving it in the fridge is an excellent way to keep track of the budget without sacrificing flavor or quality.

add garlic to cooking meat for Toscana Casserole

6. In a microwave safe measuring cup, add 2 cups heavy cream and then add 2 cups water, mixing well. Then microwave the heavy cream and water for 2 minutes. Once the cream and water are out of the microwave, add 1/3 cup flour, 3 tsp beef broth base, and whisk well until no clumps remain, and then set this bowl aside.

7. In a sink colander, rinse the kale and also remove any hard stems, then place the kale on a cutting board and use a knife to chop it roughly.
Kale is a great food to add to many meals. Soup, salads, casseroles, smoothies and more can then add vitamins and flavor to your food.

rinse kale in sink colander

8. Spray a baking pan with non-stick spray and then start making the Toscana Casserole layers. Start with 1/3 of the potatoes, in a thin layer, and then add 1/2 the sausage and sprinkle kale on the top.
Making this Toscana Casserole was a little like making a lasagna, layers and bold flavors combine to a delicious dinner recipe. However, instead of using a Crock-Pot, you make it into a casserole, layered, and baked in the oven.

9. Continue with the layering in the Toscana Casserole, firstly with another 1/3 of the potatoes, then the rest of the sausage and also the kale.

10. Finally, layer the rest of the potatoes evenly on top of the Toscana Casserole.

layer final sliced potatoes for Toscana Casserole

11. Pour the heavy cream from the measuring cup over the entire Toscana Casserole. This does not need to coat all of the potatoes, but it will help to cook the potatoes and provide the delicious cream sauce when serving.

pour heavy cream mixture over entire baking pan of Toscana Casserole

12. Using a box shredder, shred any cheese you want to top the Toscana Casserole with before baking. We had mozzarella, white cheddar and Pecorino Romano. Once the cheeses are shredded, top the cheese on the potatoes and gently pat them down.

13. Bake the Toscana Casserole at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for 1 hour, when done, remove the casserole and then let it rest for 5 minutes before serving.

bake Toscana Casserole at 375 degrees for one hour

Serve with vegetables and enjoy!
This Toscana Casserole was SO creamy and delicious. The potatoes were cooked perfectly, additionally the sauce was creamy and delicious.
~Monica

Toscana Casserole served on plate

Toscana Casserole Recipe

Ingredients for Toscana Casserole

16oz Mild Italian Sausage
16oz pork sausage
1 onion
3-4 garlic cloves, minced
12 Russett Potatoes
3 cups heavy cream
2 cups water
3 tsp beef soup base
2 cups kale, chopped

Directions for Toscana Casserole

1. On the stove, warm a medium saucepan and then spray with non-stick spray. Add the mild Italina sausage and pork sausage and cook until browned.
2. Cut, peel and then dice an onion, adding it to the cooking sausage.
3. In a sink colander, rinse the Russett potatoes and then peel the skins off.
4. Once the potatoes are peeled, use a mandolin and thinly slice the potatoes.
5. Once the meat is cooked, make a hole in the center of the pan and then add 3-4 Tbsp minced garlic and sauté until fragrant, 1-2 minutes.
6. In a microwave safe measuring cup, add 2 cups heavy cream and then add 2 cups water, mixing well, then microwave the heavy cream and water for 2 minutes. Once the cream and water are out of the microwave, add 1/3 cup flour, 3 tsp beef soup base, and whisk well until no clumps remain, and then set this bowl aside.
7. In a sink colander, rinse the kale and also remove any hard stems, then place the kale on a cutting board and use a knife to chop it roughly.
8. Spray a baking pan with non-stick spray and then start making the Toscana Casserole layers. Start with the potatoes, in a thin layer, and then add the sausage and sprinkle kale on the top.
9. Continue with the layering in the Toscana Casserole, firstly with the potatoes, then the sausage and also the kale.
10. Finally, layer the rest of the potatoes on top of the Toscana Casserole.
11. Pour the heavy cream mixture from the measuring cup over the entire Toscana Casserole. This does not need to coat all of the potatoes, but it will help to cook the potatoes and provide the delicious cream sauce when serving.
12. Using a box shredder, shred any cheese you want to top the Toscana Casserole with. Once the cheeses are shredded, top the cheese on the potatoes and gently pat them down.
13. Bake the Toscana Casserole at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for 1 hour, then when done, remove the casserole and then let it rest for 5 minutes before serving.
Serve with vegetables and enjoy!
~Monica

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Published by Monica's Scratch Kitchen

I have not always had the skills to cook and bake from scratch. As a young wife, I bought every meal frozen or boxed and presented it to my husband with a flourish, believing myself a decadent cook. As our budget shrunk, and our family grew, I looked for ways to stretch our money to nourish our kids with the best for their hungry appetites. Hoping to find recipes and meals that they would love to eat. Through the last 5 years, I have learned so many cooking and baking lessons, and experienced many wins and failures. Come along with me on this journey as I share my recipes that work, how to make them on the cheap, and my tips and tricks to get my kids to eat homemade deliciousness! I will also share updates to our house that we have done in the last year since our move. With one income, we do most of the work ourselves and with amazing family and friends to help out, cutting costs but keeping style and money in the bank! I am a wife and mother of 3 boys and 1 princess. When I was a kid, I remember being asked what I wanted to be or do when I grew up. My response was, "a mom", and I am proud to grow up and be a mom to 4 amazing kids! Samuel is 11, Matthew is 8, Levi is 4, and Elliana is almost 2. We have been blessed to have kids who love to explore foods, to try new recipes, and enjoy helping us around the house. With 4 kids, you better believe they help clean! My husband Tyler and I have been married almost 13 years. We love our kids, we love outdoors, camping, canoeing, grilling, watching movies, and just hanging out making memories. A few years ago I gifted Tyler with his own "menu" book, where we write meals and foods we have loved to eat. Weekly our family decides what our meals will be and I make up a grocery list with what we need. It literally is my favorite chore! I love to shop, so shopping for food on a budget is my biggest win! Thank you for taking the time and visiting my site, Subscribe so you do not miss a post! Keep coming back to hear about new recipes, updates on our home, fun times with our kids, and how to make homemade deliciousness! ~Monica

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