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Cannellini and Green Bean Soup with Ham and Tomatoes

Serves 4

This Italian-inspired bean soup recipe is easy, healthy and delicious. I first made it when I had an abundance of green beans in my garden. If you do not have a ham bone, use a small piece of ham. Bacon or pancetta will work as well.

Ingredients

Heat a large soup pot over medium-high heat. Add the oil, then the onions, carrots and celery. Sauté until softened, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté another minute. Add the tomatoes, broth, water, ham bone and bay leaf. Turn heat to high and bring to a boil. Add the green beans, oregano, salt and pepper. Reduce to medium-low, cover and simmer until beans are crisp-tender, about 30 minutes. (The time needed depends on the size, age and freshness of the beans.) Remove the bone and cut or pull off any meat to return to the pot. Bring back to a boil over high heat. Add the ditalini and cannellini beans; stir well. Reduce to medium-low, cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the pasta is tender, about 12 minutes. Taste for seasoning and adjust as needed. Serve immediately or keep warm over very low heat.

Notes: Go easy on the salt since ham and chicken broth are salty. I always use low-sodium or no salt added canned beans and whole wheat pasta.