2 tb Olive oil
1 Celery stalk; finely minced
1 sm Carrot; finely minced
1 tb Finely minced garlic
6 c Vegetable or chicken broth
3/4 c Dried Flageolet or Cannellini beans
4 Sprigs fresh marjoram -or- 1 tb Dried marjoram
4 Plum tomatoes
3/4 c Uncooked elbow macaroni
3/4 c Grated parmesan or romano cheese
1 sm Onion; flnely minced
Freshly ground pepper
Virgin olive oil
To prepare beans, heat olive oil in Dutch oven or heavy ovenproof pan over medium heat. Add celery, carrot and garlic and cook, stirring, 3 minutes Add broth, beans and marjoram. Cover and bring to boil. Transfer pan to oven and bake, covered, at 350 degrees 1-1/2 hours or until beans are tender.
Meanwhile, using small paring knife, cut off tip and stem of tomatoes. Remove seeds and core, leaving only firm outer pulp. Slice 1 side of tomato and place it flat on working surface. Cut into 1/4-inch strips and cut across into 1/4-inch pieces. Reserve on plate until needed.
Add macaroni to casserole. Return to oven and bake, covered, 25 minutes longer or until pasta is tender. Remove fresh herb sprigs and add tomatoes. Transfer to large tureen or divide among individual soup bowls. Offer grated cheese, minced onion, pepper and olive oil as garnishes at table. Makes 6 servings.