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Potato Soup (Zuppa de Toscana)

In its original incarnation this recipe was chopped potatoes with some hot dogs thrown in, but after an inspiring visit to Olive Garden my husband suggested putting in pork sausage instead of hot dogs, and the rest is history... I'm pretty sure that everyone who has tried this soup loves it.
Don't scrimp on the salt. It needs it. Potatoes absorb a lot of salt. Using sausage helps, but you'll still need more.

serves about 6

6 large potatoes, cut into 1/2in cubes (peel them first if you use russets, but you can leave part or all of the skins on if you use reds or golds)
1/2-1 onion, chopped little
1 lb ground pork sausage (actually 3/4 is plenty, but they come in 1lb portions usually...and it works)
salt and pepper
parsley (fresh is good in little sprigs, or use about 1Tbs of dried flakes)

Put the cut up potatoes and onions in a large saucepan, with just enough water to cover them. Boil them until they are soft (adding water as needed).
Meanwhile, cook up the pork sausage. When it is cooked through, set aside on a paper towel to let some of the grease come off (it's good if it's still a bit greasy though).
Return to the potatoes etc and drain off some of the water (leaving just a cup or so in the pan). Put in the sausage. Add milk to cover, and warm it on low or med-low heat but don't allow it to boil (milk gets ikky if it's boiled). Add salt (start with at least 2 tsp) and pepper. Use a potato masher to smash around in there until about half of the potato chunks are pulverized. That will give a nice thick consistency to the soup, while still having good chunks to chew on.
Add parsley.

Serve with a garnish of fresh parsley if you like.

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