Pasta Fagioli

INGREDIENTS:

1/2 c. chopped onion
1 clove minced garlic
2 tbsp. butter
5 c. water
3 1/2 c. (28 oz. can) tomato sauce
2 c. (about 1/2 lb.) cooked, cubed ham, sausage or hamburger (optional)
2 (15 oz.) cans (3 c.) Great Northern beans, undrained
1 tsp. chopped parsley
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 3/4 c. (8 oz.) ditalini, sm. shell or elbow pasta, uncooked

DIRECTIONS:

Saute onion, garlic and meat in butter in a 6-quart saucepan until onion is tender, but not brown. Stir in water, tomato sauce, beans, parsley, salt and pepper; heat to boiling. Reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes to blend flavors.

Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package directions; drain. Stir drained pasta into soup. Serve with grated cheese and fresh Italian bread. 6-8 servings.

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