How to Make Italian Soups

I wanted to learn how to make Italian soups because all of the wonderful Italian seasonings. These are one of the oldest dishes prepared in Italy dating back to medieval times. A cook in Italy has a collection includes a rich assortment of flavorful zuppas. They range from delicate broths to flavorful hearty meals. Sometimes light broths are slightly thickened with eggs or Parmesan cheese. Heartier recipes often take the place of pasta as the first course or they can be the main meal.

Soups play an important role in the Italian daily diet as it does in most countries of the world. Here in the United States, in past years these recipes played a greater necessary role than what we see today. Today, we eat soups because of the enjoyment, not for a cheap meal as in the past. When you learn how to make Italian soups you will discover why many of these desirable recipes are the ones which have become so popular like the Tuscan Bean Soup.

As with other parts of the culinary world, traditional soup recipes in different areas consist of locally available foods. They might include various seafoods along the coastal areas or locally grown vegetables. Thick and filling soups are found in the mountainous region of the Alps to keep the body warm and satisfied. Many of the heartier recipes will have in them rice and other grains, pasta or potatoes to lend a filling substance.

When I learn how to make Italian soups, I often add some of the Italian sausages and cured meats to add wonderful flavor. Italian style link sausage is my favorite. It is made from fresh ground pork highly seasoned with salt, garlic and wine. Some of it is generously laced with hot red pepper. A sweeter variety usually includes flavorful fennel seed.

Next, I like to season some Italian soups with pancetta. This is an unsmoked bacon (unlike our smoked bacon variety) made from the pork belly. It is seasoned with salt, pepper and spices then rolled into a sausage shape and then cured. You can buy it in slices; unroll them to make bacon strips. I use it rolled in soups and it really adds great flavor.

Prosciutto is another one that is great for Italian soups. It is a salted air cured hind ham. It has a sweet nutty taste and a velvety texture. Coppa can also be used as it is a cured fore shank of a pig with a sweet salty taste. Salami and mortadella are not among my favorites for soup but for many other delicious recipes. If that is all you have, it won’t hurt to use it; still great flavor. Mortadella is a fine grain sausage; the original bologna. Salami is air dried sausage made from seasoned pork or beef.


How to Make Italian Soups like this Zuppa ToscanoHow to Make Italian Soups like this Zuppa Toscano

This warming Tuscan soup recipe flavorful and hearty for chilly weather; it is made with pork, potatoes and cream.

  • 4 Slices bacon
  • 1 Pound Italian sausage
  • 1 Large chopped onion
  • 3 Cloves minced garlic
  • 1 ½ Quarts chicken broth (Rich flavor- some of the commercially canned is not so tasty.)
  • 1 ½ Teaspoons Italian seasoning (If desired, make it homemade- recipe below)
  • 2 Cups greens (Kale or water cress is good)
  • 1 Pound peeled and grated potatoes
  • 1 Cup heavy cream (whipping)
  • Red pepper flakes (OPTIONAL for spice)
  • Salt and pepper for taste

Brown bacon until crisp; remove bacon to a soup pot with a slotted spoon.
Place sausage in skillet and cook until brown and done; remove to pot with bacon.
Remove excess drippings from skillet (LEAVE 2 TABLESPOONS)
Add chopped onion and garlic to the skillet; sauté until onion is tender.
Dump skillet mixture into soup pot; add chicken broth and Italian seasoning to the pot.
Bring the mixture to a boil; add the potatoes and greens to the pot.
Return to a boil, reduce heat and cook until the vegetables are tender.
Add the cream, red pepper if desired and any salt and pepper to taste.
Stir to blend and heat ONLY until steaming NOT BOILING.


  • 1 Teaspoon salt
  • 2 Tablespoons dried basil
  • 2 Tablespoons dried rosemary
  • 2 Tablespoons dried oregano
  • 2 Tablespoons dried marjoram
  • 2 Tablespoons thyme
  • 1 Teaspoon sage
  • 2 Tablespoons dried parsley
  • 1/4 Teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 Teaspoon crushed bay leaf

Combine and blend well. Store mixture in a clean dry glass jar with a tight lid.


  • 10 Cups rich chicken broth
  • 16 Slices bread ¼ inch thick (Use a dense bread like the long loaves of Italian or French breads)
  • 6 Tablespoons clarified butter (The fat part on top after butter has melted and separated from the milk)
  • 16 Fresh eggs
  • Salt/pepper to taste
  • Fresh grated Parmesan cheese

Bring chicken stock to a boil.
Fry bread slices in clarified butter in skillets until brown on both sides.
Place 2 bread slices in each of 8 warm bowls; break 2 eggs into each bowl without breaking the yolks.
Season with salt, pepper and top with a little Parmesan cheese.
Carefully ladle boiling stock over the eggs.
Serve immediately with extra Parmesan cheese on the side.


This Italian soup recipe is thick; more like a stew and very delicious.

  • ½ Cup olive oil
  • 2 Cloves minced garlic
  • 1 ½ Pounds canned tomatoes
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh parsley
  • Salt/ pepper to taste
  • ¾ Cup black olives
  • 4 Large thin steaks of grouper

Heat the olive oil in a wide low sided flameproof dish; add the garlic and sauté for a few minutes.
Add tomatoes, parsley, salt and pepper; cook a few minutes over medium heat.
Add olives and fish steaks; cook about 10 minutes until fish is fully white.
Serve hot.


  • 1 Package (16 ounces) dried navy beans
  • Water to cover
  • 4 Quarts water
  • ½ Pound green beans cut into pieces
  • 4 Leeks sliced
  • 3 Large tomatoes skinned and chopped
  • 3 Sage leaves
  • 1 ½ Teaspoons salt
  • ½ Teaspoon pepper
  • 4 Diced potatoes
  • 4 Sliced zucchini
  • 4 Ounces vermicelli
  • Pistou (Recipe below)

Wash and pick over beans; in a large pot cover with fresh water.

Bring beans to a boil and cook for 2 minutes; cover, remove from heat and let stand for 1 hour.

Drain beans; add 4 quarts fresh water; bring to a boil, lower heat, cover and simmer 30 minutes.

Add green beans, leeks, tomatoes, sage, salt and pepper; simmer 30 minutes stirring occasionally.

Add potatoes and zucchini; simmer uncovered 15 minutes or until vegetables are barely tender.

Stir in vermicelli and simmer 5 minutes or until pasta is cooked; stir in pistou and serve.


  • ½ Cup olive oil
  • ¼ Cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 3 Cloves garlic
  • ½ Cup basil leaves

Combine all ingredients in a food processor or blender.


  • 1 Pound mild sausage
  • 1 Pound hot sausage
  • 4 Carrots peeled
  • 1 ½ Pounds zucchini diced
  • 2 Green peppers diced
  • 1 Cup finely chopped onion
  • 2 Cloves minced garlic
  • 1 Cup white cooking wine
  • 10 Cups chicken broth
  • 2 Large cans peeled whole tomatoes
  • 2 Teaspoons dried basil
  • 1 Teaspoon dried oregano
  • Black pepper to taste
  • 1 Cup uncooked orzo
  • 1 ¼ Cups Parmesan cheese

Remove casings from sausage; place sausage, onions and garlic in soup pot.

Cook sausage mixture until meat is done; add remaining ingredients EXCEPT CHEESE AND ORZO.

Cook until vegetables are tender; bring mixture to a boil and add orzo.

Cook for 20 minutes; serve sprinkled with Parmesan cheese. Serves 12.