White Bean Soup With Pasta

Serves 8-10. Recipe was submitted by Gayle Wagner to the “Robusto Italiano” Food Focus booklet published by The Advocate in 1991.

1 pound dried white beans (I tested with navy beans)

4 quarts water

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 cups finely chopped smoked ham

1 (2-inch-square) tasso, cut into small dice

1 cup chopped onions

½ cup chopped celery

2 cloves garlic, minced

Salt and pepper to taste

1 cup cooked rotini pasta

Parmesan cheese

1. Rinse dried beans, in a strainer under cold running water. Sort through beans for pebbles or discolored beans.

2. In large pot, bring beans and water to boil over high heat; boil for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and let soak for 1 hour.

3. In separate skillet heat olive oil and stir in ham, tasso, onions, celery and garlic. Stir and cook about 10 minutes.

4. Add meat mixture to beans after they have soaked. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Simmer, covered for 1 hour.

5. With slotted spoon mash about ¼ cup beans against side of pot. Add the cooked rotini right before serving time. If mixture is too thick, thin with a little water. Check seasoning.

6. Top each bowl with a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese.