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Smoky Pasta and Bean Soup

6 slices bacon, diced
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 rib celery, finely chopped
1 medium carrot, peeled and grated
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/8 tsp. crushed hot red pepper flakes
2 cups canned crushed tomatoes
2-1/2 cups drained canned white beans
6 cups chicken broth
3/4 cup macaroni or other small pasta shape
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese, optional

In a large deep skillet, sauté bacon until some fat is rendered; add onion, celery, carrot, garlic, and red pepper to skillet and sauté until vegetables are softened, about 10 minutes. Stir in tomatoes; cook and stir occasionally for 10 more minutes. Stir in beans; add broth and bring to a gentle boil. Add macaroni (or other small pasta) and continue cooking until pasta is tender, but still firm, about 15 minutes. Serve immediately with Parmesan cheese if desired; or cover, refrigerate and reheat gently to serving temperature. Serves 8.

 



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