Heat the oil in a large saucepan or Dutch oven set over medium-high heat. Add the sausage, onion, carrot, celery, red pepper, garlic and thyme. Cook for 5 minutes or until vegetables start to soften and sausage is golden brown. Pour in the broth and add the bay leaf; bring to a boil. Add the orzo and kale. Reduce the heat to medium; simmer for 8 to 10 minutes or until the orzo is al dente and vegetables are tender. Stir in the parsley, salt and pepper. Serve immediately.
Substitute baby shells or alphabet pasta for the orzo. Serve the soup with crusty bread for a satisfying supper. Prepare a double batch and freeze half to have on hand for busy weeknights.