Rachael Ray’s Pasta and Beans: Pasta e Fagioli is a good pasta and beans recipe. To make this recipe, begin by lightly browning 1/8 pound chopped pancetta with 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil in a deep pot over medium high heat.
Add to the pot two 4- to 6-inch sprigs rosemary, one 4- to 6-inch sprig thyme, one large fresh bay leaf or two dried bay leaves, one finely chopped medium onion and one finely chopped small carrot. Also add one finely chopped celery rib and four chopped large garlic cloves. Season the vegetable mixture with coarse salt and pepper to taste. Stir in two cans cannellini beans, 1 cup canned tomato sauce or canned crushed tomatoes, 2 cups water and 1 quart chicken stock. Turn the heat up to high and bring the soup to a rapid boil. Add 1 1/2 cups ditalini and reduce the heat to medium.
Cook the soup, stirring occasionally, six to eight minutes or until the pasta is al dente. Remove herb stems and bay leaves from the soup. Remove the soup from heat and let it cool for a few minutes. Serve the soup in bowls; top with a generous amount of grated Parmigiano or Romano cheese. Serve with crusty bread.