A hearty, comforting soup in two steps? It’s possible! Just grab your slow cooker. Made with sausage, collard greens, leeks, and pasta, this easy soup is a little bit Southern and a little bit Italian, although there’s also plenty of room to customize. You can use any type of sausage here, spicy, smoked, or mild, pork or chicken. Instead of collards, you can also use kale, turnip greens, or other winter greens. The long cook time will break down the greens and make them soft and tender, so it’s important to choose hearty greens that can stand up to a long cook time, not delicate greens like spinach. Simply remove the sausage from its casing and brown it in a pan with the leeks before adding to the slow cooker. Simmer with the stock and greens until the broth is rich and fragrant and the greens are tender. Just before serving, stir in the cooked pasta and a little heavy cream for richness. Served with some good toasted bread and a glass of red wine, this is comfort food at its simplest and most warming.
1 pound mild sausage links, casings removed
1 cup chopped leek (from 1 leek)
4 cups unsalted chicken stock
8 ounces chopped fresh collard greens
1 tablespoon chopped garlic (2 to 3 garlic cloves)
1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
3/4 teaspoon black pepper
3 cups cooked ditalini pasta (about 1 1/2 cups uncooked)
1/4 cup heavy cream
How to Make It
Cook sausage in a large skillet over medium, stirring to break apart with a wooden spoon, until just beginning to brown, about 6 minutes. Add leek, and cook until sausage is browned and leek begins to soften, about 5 minutes.
Add sausage, chopped leek, and pan drippings to a 6-quart slow cooker. Add stock, collards, garlic, salt, and pepper. Cover and cook on LOW until vegetables are softened and sausage is cooked through, about 4 hours. Stir in cooked pasta and heavy cream just before serving.