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Pasta and Bean Soup

    2/3  cup dried cannellini beans or navy beans
    4  cups water to soak beans
    5  cups water
    1/2  cup chopped onion
    1/2  cup chopped carrot
    1/4  cup chopped celery
    1  ounce pancetta or 2 slices bacon, crisp-cooked and crumbled
    1  tablespoon instant beef bouillon granules
    2  cloves garlic, minced
    1/2  teaspoon dried sage, crushed
    1/2  teaspoon dried marjoram, crushed
    1/8  teaspoon pepper
    1/2  cup packaged dried small pasta (such as shells, elbow macaroni, or bow ties)
    4  teaspoons olive oil (optional)

  1. Rinse beans. In a large saucepan combine beans and 4 cups water. Bring to boiling; reduce heat and simmer
for 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Cover and let stand for 1 hour. (Or, skip boiling the water and soak beans
overnight in a covered pan.)

  2. Drain and rinse the soaked beans. In the same pan combine beans, the 5 cups fresh water, onion, carrot,
celery, crumbled pancetta or bacon, bouillon granules, garlic, sage, marjoram, and pepper. Bring to boiling; reduce
heat. Cover and simmer for 1 to 1-1/2 hours or until beans are tender.* Slightly mash beans in saucepan. Stir in
uncooked pasta. Increase heat and boil gently, uncovered, for 8 to 10 minutes or just until pasta is tender. To serve,
ladle into soup bowls. If desired, drizzle each serving with 1 teaspoon olive oil. Makes 4 main-dish servings.