Pasta e Fagioli

Source: Cindy Mac (Gardenweb Cooking Forum)
adapted by

1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1/4 cup finely chopped celery
1/4 cup finely chopped carrots
3-4 cloves garlic, finely minced
2 tablespoons olive oil
about 2 cups canned tomatoes, broken up with a spoon or pureed (or 2 cups fresh diced)
3-4 cups chicken broth
1 can red kidney beans, rinsed & drained (or cannellini beans)
1 – 1 1/2 cups ditali pasta or small shells (about 3 handfuls)
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, or to taste (optional)
coarse salt and fresh ground pepper
2-3 tablespoons fresh basil, chiffonade

In large saucepan sauté onion, celery, and carrots in olive oil until soft, about 8 minutes. Add garlic for 30 seconds, then add tomatoes and chicken broth. Bring to a slow boil, add beans, pasta, red pepper flakes, and salt and pepper to taste. Cook until pasta is al dente, about 8-10 minutes. Add fresh basil just before removing from heat.

Serve with freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano or Asiago.