Bean, Ham and Pasta Soup
1 cup dried pinto beans -- rinsed and drained
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 pound smoked ham hocks -- chopped
1 medium onion -- finely chopped
2 cloves garlic -- minced
2 2/3 cups double strength chicken broth
3 cups water
1/4 cup tomato paste
1/2 cup spaghetti -- broken in 1" pieces
or bow-tie pasta or shells 1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
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 t he 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 3 1/2-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. Serve immediately.
Serves 6 to 8