Cannellini and Green Bean Soup with Ham and Tomatoes
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.
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 cup chopped onions
- 3/4 cup chopped carrots
- 1/4 cup chopped celery
- 6 large garlic cloves, minced
- 1 can (14.5 ounces) whole tomatoes, crushed with fingers, with juices
- 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
- 5 cups water
- 1 meaty ham bone
- 1 bay leaf
- 1-1/2 pounds green beans, stem ends removed, and snapped into about 1-inch pieces
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano leaves, more to taste
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 8 ounces ditalini, elbows or similar small pasta
- 1 can (about 16 ounces) cannellini or other white bean, rinsed and drained
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.