Brown sausage in a large pot or dutch oven. Remove sausage with a slotted spoon and set aside.
16 ounces spicy Italian sausage
Cut bacon into small pieces. Add bacon to pot and cook until crispy.
8 slices bacon
Stir in chopped onion. Cook for 5 to 6 minutes or until onion is translucent.
½ large onion
Stir in minced garlic and cook for 1 minute, stirring frequently.
2 to 3 cloves garlic
Add chicken broth and water to the pot. Add crushed red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper if desired.
28 ounces chicken broth, 24 ounces water, 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, salt and pepper
Add thinly sliced potatoes (I use a mandoline) and the cooked sausage to the pot and bring to a simmer over medium heat.
5 russet potatoes
Continue cooking until potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes.
Add the kale to the soup, and simmer for an additional 5 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Test for seasoning and season with salt and pepper if needed.
4 cups chopped kale
Stir in the heavy cream and let heat through.
1 cup heavy whipping cream
Ladle the soup into bowls and serve with Parmesan cheese on top.