1poundground Italian sausage(or 19 ounces links, casing removed)
1 1/2cupsdiced onion(about 1 medium onion)
3medium russet potatoes, scrubbed or peeled and cut into 1/2 -inch pieces(about 1 1/2 - 2 pounds)
4cupsunsalted or low salt chicken broth
1bunch of kale, stems removed, chopped(about 6 cups tightly packed or 6 ounces)
1cupheavy whipping cream
1/2cupshredded Parmesan cheese
1/4teaspoonred pepper flakes, optional, more to taste
3tablespoonscornstarch + 1/4 cup water
1/4cupchopped fresh parsley
1/4cupchopped fresh basil
salt and pepper to taste
In a large pot, cook bacon over medium-low heat until crispy, about 6 minutes. Remove from pan and place on a paper towel-lined plate. Remove all but about 1 tablespoon of bacon grease.
Increase heat to medium and add Italian sausage and onion and cook, breaking up sausage, for 6-8 minutes or until onions are translucent and sausage is cooked through. Add garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes or until fragrant, stirring constantly.
Add broth, water, and potatoes and increase heat to high to bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer (medium-low heat) and cook uncovered for 15 minutes or until potatoes are fork tender.
When potatoes are done or almost done, add kale and cook until kale leaves are tender.
Stir in cream, Parmesan, and red pepper flakes if using.
In a small bowl, combine cornstarch and water with a fork or whisk. Pour into soup and simmer until thickened. Stir in parsley and basil. Taste and season with salt and pepper.
Serve garnished with bacon and additional Parmesan, if desired.
Makes about 12 cups
The soup can be prepared a couple of hours in advance and kept on Warm in a slow cooker until you're ready to serve it.
If desired, omit bacon. Continue with recipe as directed.
If you don't care for kale, substitute fresh spinach leaves. Stir in right before serving.