Winter Comfort Food – Italian Pasta and Bean Soup

2 Tbl. olive oil
1 cup onion, diced
2 ribs celery, diced
2 Tbl. garlic, minced (about 2 large cloves)
2 cups canned Italian plum tomatoes, diced (15 oz. can)
6 cups chicken broth (large 49 oz. can broth)
2 large bay leaves
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
15 oz. can white northern beans
15 oz. can garbanzo beans
1 cup ditalini pasta or other small pasta such as orzo, patina or miniature shells
Garnish: grated Romano or parmesan cheese, chopped fresh parsley

In large stockpot, heat oil. Add onion and celery. Cook 2 min. on low until soft; add garlic; cook 1 min. Add tomatoes, broth, bay leaves, oregano, salt, pepper, and the beans. Cover soup; simmer for 30 min. Add pasta, cook another 10 min. Taste for seasoning. Remove bay leaves before serving. If soup is too thick, thin with a little more broth or with water; use a little at a time to test the consistency. Warm soup after adding liquid. Serve soup in large bowls with crusty bread and topped with grated cheese and chopped fresh parsley. Serves 6-8.

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