- 2 T extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/8 pound (about 3 slices) pancetta, chopped
- 2 sprigs rosemary, left intact
- 1 sprig thyme with several sprigs on it, left intact
- 2 dried bay leaves
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 1 small carrot, finely chopped
- 1 stalk celery, finely chopped
- 4 large cloves garlic, chopped
- Coarse salt and pepper
- 2 (15 ounce) cans cannellini beans
- 1 cup canned tomato sauce or canned crushed tomatoes
- 2 cups water
- 1 quart chicken stock
- 1 1/2 cups ditalini
- Grated Parmigiano or Romano, for the table
- Heat a deep pot over medium high heat and add oil and pancetta. Brown the pancetta bits lightly, and add herb stems, bay leaf, chopped vegetables, and garlic.
- Season vegetables with salt and pepper.
- Add beans, tomato sauce, water, and stock to pot and raise heat to high.
- Bring soup to a rapid boil and add pasta. Reduce heat to medium and cook soup, stirring occasionally, 6 to 8 minutes or until pasta is cooked al dente.
- Rosemary and thyme leaves will separate from stems as soup cooks.
- Remove herb stems and bay leaf from soup and place pot on table on a trivet. Let soup rest and begin to cool for a few minutes.
- Ladle soup into bowls and top with lots of grated cheese.
- Serve with crusty bread