Italian Sausage & Kale Soup

Enjoy this Italian version of the ever popular sausage and kale soup for dinner tonight.

3 tablespoons olive oil, divided

1 pound bulk Italian sausage

2 large carrots, sliced

3 stalks celery, sliced

1 bay leaf

1 sprig fresh thyme

2 teaspoons Italian Seasoning

4 cloves garlic, minced

Salt and pepper to taste

1 bunch kale, stems removed & roughly chopped

2 cans white cannellini beans, drained & rinsed

6 to 8 cups beef or chicken broth

Parmesan, optional

Heat one tablespoon oil over medium heat in a large soup pot. Add sausage and cook until browned, breaking up into small pieces. Drain meat and set aside. Heat remaining olive oil in the soup pot and add onions, celery, bay leaf, thyme and Italian seasoning. Cook until vegetables are tender. Add garlic, salt and pepper and cook for one more minute. Add kale and cook until wilted. Stir in beans, sausage and broth and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer for 15 minutes.     Remove from heat. Remove bay leaf and thyme spring. Serve with Parmesan and crusty bread.