I have a new favorite soup. This was AMAZING!!! I found it on Allrecipes.com and tweaked it a little bit to fit my preferences. SO GOOD. A big hit all around - next time I make a full recipe (I halved it) because there wasn't enough leftovers!!! Fantastic with homemade bread (I made this Anadama Bread) Here's the recipe, with my changes in blue. TRY THIS!!!!!!!!!!!
Italian White Bean And Pancetta Soup
6 ounces pancetta bacon, finely diced (if you can't find pancetta, you can substitute regular bacon)
1/4 cup olive oil
1 cup red onion, chopped
1 cup chopped celery
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage (I used fresh thyme and fresh basil instead)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
6 cups chicken stock
4 (19 ounce) cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed (I used navy beans instead...and you might only need 3 cans of beans if you prefer it more broth-y)
2 cups seashell pasta (or any small pasta, I used whole wheat rotini)
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
grated parmesan cheese (gotta have this!! I think I used Asiago - it totally made the soup!)
1. In an 8 quart pot, saute pancetta in olive oil until soft. Add onion and celery; saute, stirring, for about 5 minutes. Add minced garlic. Stir in sage, 1 teaspoon salt, and black pepper. Add chicken stock, cover, and bring to a boil Add beans to soup, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes.
2. Cook pasta in 4 quarts boiling water with 1 teaspoon salt until al dente. Drain, and add to soup. (I put a scoop of pasta in each bowl then poured soup over the top so the soup wasn't thick and starchy and the pasta wasn't mushy)
3. Stir in minced parsley before serving, and sprinkle with grated cheese.