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This hearty soup is not only well-seasoned but very healthy as well.  Imagine coming in out of the cold to a steaming bowl of this tasty offering from Brenda Hyde on the late Practical Kitchen site.  It's so fast to prepare, you can practically welcome yourself in out of the cold.

Pasta & Bean Soup

2 tablespoons olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
12 ounce can tomato paste
2 cans (15 oz) Great Northern beans, undrained
2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped  (Note #1)
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped (Note #1)
2 cans (14 1/2 ounce) chicken broth
  (Note #2)
3 1/2 cups hot water
1/2 cup small pasta shells  (Note #3)
1/2 tsp. black pepper
Parmesan Cheese, optional

In a large pan, heat oil; sauté garlic until light golden.  Stir in tomato paste, beans and liquid, and the herbs.  Cook for 2 minutes.  Stir in broth and water then bring to boil.  Add pasta and black pepper. Cook for 8 minutes; stirring occasionally, or until  pasta is tender.  Serve with Parmesan cheese if desired.

Note #1:  1 scant tablespoon of dried herbs may be used it the fresh ones aren't available.  Fresh is much tastier (and healthier), however.

Note #2:  If you have prepared our chicken broth you can add  29 oz. or 3  2/3 cups of it, instead of the canned stuff.  Or reconstitute that amount from powdered broth mix.

Note #3:  Naturally, if you don't have small pasta shells on hand, you can substitute any other small pasta.





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