Bean, Ham and Pasta Soup
dried, rinsed and drained
smoked and chopped
broken in 1 inch pieces or bowtie pasta or shells
In a large bowl, combine the beans and enough water to cover by 2 inches.
Let stand overnight; drain well.
In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat.
Add the ham, onion, and celery and cook, stirring often until lightly browned, about 6 minutes.
Add the garlic and cook, stirring often, for 1 minute.
Add the chicken broth, stirr ing to scrape up the browned bits on the bottom of the skillet.
Transfer to a 3½-quart slow cooker.
Add the drained beans, water, and tomato paste.
Cover and slow cook until the beans are tender, 7 to 8 hours on Low or 4 to 5 hours on High.
Stir in the pasta, salt, and pepper.
Turn heat to high and cook until pasta is tender, about 30 to 60 minutes.
Using a large spoon, crush enough of the beans against the sides of the slow co oker to reach the consistency you like.