1. Rinse and sort beans. Use directions on the package for a quick soak. (Cover with water, bring to a boil, then let sit off heat for about 1 hour.)
2. Pour off soaking liquid and put beans in a large pot with ham bone; cover with water. In a small skillet, add a small amount of oil and sauté the onion, celery, carrot, garlic and bell pepper, if using. Add veggies to pot of beans along with Worcestershire, salt and pepper to taste, basil and marjoram. Bring to a boil and then lower the heat to a simmer. Simmer about 3 hours, until beans are tender.
3. Slice the smoked sausage and add to beans, then simmer until heated through. Remove ham bone from pot. Remove any meat from the bone, chop it and return meat to the pot. Discard the bone. When soup is thoroughly heated, ladle into bowls and serve with shaved Parmesan on top.
Slow cooker version:
1. Add all ingredients except sausage to slow cooker.
2. Cook on low heat for 5 to 6 hours.
3. Slice sausage and add to pot, then cook for 1 more hour.
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