2 lb. Italian Sausage
3 T. garlic olive oil, divided
3 strips thick bacon
1 onion, chopped
1 bag frozen onion, carrots, celery
64 oz. chicken broth
1 (28 oz.) can diced tomatoes
1 c. water
3 T. tomato paste
1 1/2 heads garlic, chopped
3-4 sprigs fresh Thyme
1 bay leaf
3 cans cannellini beans
1/4 c. parsley, chopped
1/4 c. basil chiffonade
In large Dutch oven, break up and brown sausage in 1 T. olive oil (Squeeze sausage out of casing). Drain. In same pan, cook bacon until crisp, chop.
Saute onion with frozen vegetables in 2 T. olive oil until onions are translucent. Add chicken broth, tomatoes (mashed), water, tomato paste, garlic, thyme and, bay leaf. Simmer 30 minutes.
Next add beans, sausage, bacon, parsley and, basil. Simmer 20-30 more minutes, adjust seasoning and add kale, as desired.
Optional: Top with Croutons: thin sliced Crusty Bread, toasted in oven on both sides till lightly browned then topped with a combo of melted butter and Garlic 00, and good grated Parmesan. Return to oven to melt cheese. Can be held at room temp for several hours.
To Freeze: Prepare to assemble to adding bean, sausage, bacon, etc. Put in freezer bags. Blanch and freeze kale in individual bags to be added to soup later.
Serving Day: Simmer 20-30 minutes. Add kale and heat through.