(POSTED: February 16, 2007)

Bean and Pasta Soup

To make a vegetarian version of this soup, replace the bacon with two tablespoons of olive oil and the chicken stock with vegetable stock. Add more seasoning to taste. 

1  strip bacon (1 ounce), diced    
1  medium onion, chopped    
2  carrots, chopped    
2  garlic cloves, minced   
1/2  teaspoon dried rosemary 
Coarse salt and ground pepper    
1  tablespoon tomato paste    
2  cans (15 ounces each) beans, such as navy or cannellini, drained and rinsed    
4  cups reduced-sodium canned chicken broth    
3/4  cup tubetti, ditalini, or other short, tubular pasta    
1/4  cup chopped fresh parsley
  1.   In a Dutch oven or stockpot, cook bacon over medium heat until browned and crisp, stirring occasionally, about 8 minutes. 
  2.   Add onion and carrots; cook until vegetables are soft, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and rosemary; cook until fragrant, 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper. 
  3.   Stir in tomato paste, beans, broth, and 4 cups water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer, partially covered, until soup has thickened slightly, about 10 minutes. 
  4.   With a potato masher, mash some of the beans (still in pot) to thicken soup. Add pasta; cook until al dente, about 10 minutes. 
  5.   To serve, ladle soup into bowls; sprinkle with parsley. Serves 6.
Note: Use a vegetable peeler to shave a few Parmesan curls over each serving.

Source:  www.marthastewart.com

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