If you're looking for a meal that is full of flavor, oh-so-comforting, balanced with protein, veggies and starch, and cooked in ONE pot, give this hearty soup a try! It's a family favorite in our house, perfect for cold days.
Note: It's great to make ahead or for leftovers as it tastes even better the next day. Did we mention it freezes well so it's perfect for those busy nights?
1 lb sweet Italian sausage (we recommend Hempler brand)
Hot pepper flakes – to taste (we recommend 1 tsp to start)
1 onion, diced (we recommend white)
2 large carrots, peeled and thinly sliced into half coins
5-8 large cloves garlic, sliced, chopped or minced
2-3 stalks celery, diced
Salt & pepper
2 tsp dried oregano
2 tsp dried basil
1 bay leaf
1 tsp dried thyme
2 quarts low-sodium chicken broth
Button or cremini mushrooms, quartered
15 oz can tomatoes (we recommend crushed San Marzanos or petite diced Italian tomatoes)
2 15 oz cans white beans (we recommend one can each: cannellini and small white beans)
Parmesan rind (optional if you happen to have one leftover)
1 head of lacinato kale, de-stemmed and sliced into thin strips
Half-and-half or whipping cream (optional)
Shaved or shredded parmesan for garnish
Bring heavy bottomed pot such as a Dutch oven up to med-high heat. While warming, add a heavy swirl of EVOO (about 2 tsp). Once hot, add and crumble sausage, add pepper flakes, cook until browned – about 10 min.
Add onion, carrots, garlic and celery + salt, pepper, oregano, basil, bay leaf and dried thyme. Cook stirring frequently until veggies have softened and onion begins to become transparent.
Add chicken broth, mushrooms, tomatoes, beans. Cover and bring to a boil, turn down to low and simmer covered for at least 15 min and up to a couple of hours. We recommend at least an hour.
Remove bay leaf and parmesan rind. Taste and adjust seasonings. Depending on the flavor in the sausage, you may need to add more herbs, salt, pepper, and/or pepper flakes. Add kale 15 minutes before serving.
Ladle into bowls, bring to table. Add a swirl of cream if using. Garnish with parmesan.