8 servings (serving size: 1 1/2 cups soup and 1 1/2 tablespoons cheese)

Almost any bean (such as pinto or garbanzo) works in this traditional Italian soup.

How to Make It

Step 1

Sort and wash beans, and place in a large Dutch oven. Cover with water to 2 inches above beans; bring to a boil, and cook for 2 minutes. Remove beans from heat; cover and let stand for 1 hour. Drain beans in a colander.

Step 2

Heat oil in pan over medium heat until hot. Add onion, carrot, and celery, and sauté 5 minutes or until tender. Add 2 garlic cloves; cook 1 minute. Add tomatoes; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add beans, 9 cups water, red pepper, and bay leaf, and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 1 hour and 50 minutes. Add salt, oregano, thyme, rosemary, and 2 garlic cloves; cover and simmer 25 minutes or until beans are tender. Discard bay leaf.

Step 3

Place 2 cups bean mixture in a food processor; process until smooth. Return bean purée to pan, and stir well. Add pasta; cook 7 minutes or until pasta is done. Remove from heat; stir in parsley and black pepper. Ladle soup into bowls, and sprinkle with cheese.

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