- 4 (15-ounce) cans cannellini beans, rinsed and drained (see note)
- 4 cups water, plus additional as needed
- Salt, to taste
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
- 2 cloves garlic, sliced
- 1 rib celery, chopped
- 1 carrot, peeled and chopped (optional)
- 5 ounces cherry tomatoes, cut in half
- 10 ounces pasta, such as small shells or elbows (see note)
- 1/2 cup fresh or frozen peas (optional)
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
In a large soup pot, combine beans with 4 cups salted water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes.
In a saucepan, heat oil over medium-high heat. Sauté garlic, celery and carrots for 1 minute. Add tomatoes and sauté for 2 minutes. Add tomato mixture to beans and stir. Cook over medium-high heat for 10 minutes.
Add pasta, stir, then cook over medium-high heat for 8 minutes or until pasta is al dente (soft enough to bite, but still firm). (Add more water, as needed, for pasta to cook.) Stir in peas, if using. Remove from the heat and let sit for 5 minutes, allowing pasta to absorb liquid.
To serve, drizzle with olive oil and garnish with fresh basil. This dish holds well for several days refrigerated.
To use dried white beans: soak 1 pound dried beans overnight in 8 cups water. Drain and rinse. Boil the soaked beans for 1 hour in 4 cups salted water until tender. Drain. Continue with the recipe as if using canned beans.
If you want to freeze this dish, omit adding the pasta. Thaw, heat and serve drizzled with olive oil over slices of crusty bread.