315 oz cans pinto or cannellini beans ¼cupextra virgin olive oil ½medium onion,chopped 2clovesgarlic,chopped 5 ozpancetta or approx 5 slices bacon,diced 2tbspminced FRESH rosemary, thyme, basil or parsley 6 cupsbeef broth 1cupcrushed tomatoes 1 ¾cupssmall pasta shells,uncooked Salt and pepper to taste crushed red pepper flakes,optional Parmigiano cheese
In a large soup pot, heat olive oil. Add onion and pancetta and saute until onions are golden, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and herbs and saute about 4 additional minutes. Then combine the beans, the broth and cook for five minutes.
Transfer the pot ingredients to a blender or food processor. Puree until smooth. You can also use an immersion blender and that will be easier.
Add the pureed mixture back into the pot. Add salt, and crushed tomatoes. Bring to a boil.
Once boiling, add the pasta and cook until al dente, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking.
Once the pasta is cooked, remove from heat.
Taste, and add more salt if necessary.
Serve, topped with red pepper flakes and cheese, if you like.