Italian Sausage & Potato Soup

This rustic and hearty soup is substantial enough to serve as a main course. The sausage and seasonings add a lot of flavor, while big chunks of potato make for a satisfying meal. Pair with a crisp, green side salad and dinner is served!
rustic and hearty Italian sausage and potato soup

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Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 3-7 hours
Serves: 6-8

Ingredients:

4 oz. pancetta, cubed (bacon can substituted)
2 lbs. bulk Italian sausage
2 15-oz. cans cannellini beans*
6-7 c. chicken stock, divided
1 T. crushed red pepper flakes
2-3 cloves fresh garlic, finely minced
1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
2 lbs. Russet potatoes, peeled and cut into small chunks
Salt and black pepper, to taste
½ c. half and half, tempered**
3 c. fresh spinach, finely chopped
½ c. Parmesan cheese, freshly grated

Tips:

For less salt, drain and rinse both cans of cannellini beans before pureeing one can with a little water.

Temper the half and half by adding a little bit of the hot liquid to it before stirring it into the slow cooker crock.


Directions

  1. Brown pancetta in large skillet over medium-high heat for 2 or 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add sausage to the same skillet and brown, breaking it up into small bite-sized chunks with a spatula while it cooks. Remove from heat and carefully drain excess fat from pan. Transfer pancetta and sausage to a 5 or 6-quart slow cooker crock.

  2. Puree one can of cannellini beans (undrained) in a blender or food processor. Drain and rinse the other can of cannellini beans and add the puree and whole beans to slow cooker crock.

  3. Add 6 cups chicken stock, red pepper flakes, chopped onion, potatoes, and Parmesan cheese rind to crock and stir to combine. Season with salt and black pepper, to taste.

Cover and cook on high for 3-4 hours or low for 6-7. Remove lid and add tempered half and half, spinach, grated Parmesan cheese and remaining chicken stock, if necessary, to achieve the desired consistency. Stir to combine and allow 5 minutes for spinach to soften before serving. 

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