I know its been ages since I shared a recipe. I just made this one the other night and its always a hit in our family, and really quite good for you, too. It is essentially a vegetarian dish, but you can add sausage if you feel it needs a little more flavor.
8 ounces (1 cup) dried cannellini or Great Northern beans or 3 cups canned beans, rinsed and drained
1 celery rib, chopped
2 garlic cloves, lightly crushed
1/4 cup olive oil
1 cup peeled, seeded, and chopped fresh tomatoes or canned Italian peeled tomatoes
1 teaspoon tomato paste
1/2 cup water
1 small dried peperoncino, crumbled, or a pinch of crushed red pepper
8 ounces ditalini or spaghetti or other pasta broken into 1-inch pieces
If using dried beans, put them in a blowl with cold water to cover by 1 inch, and let stand for at least 4 hours, or overnight, in the refrigerator. Add more water if necessary to keep the beans covered.
Drain the beans and place them in a pot with fresh water to cover by 1/2 inch. Bring to a simmer over low heat. Cover the pot and cook until the beans are very soft, about 1 hour. Add more water if needed to keep the beans just covered. (You can substitute 3 cups canned beans, rinsed and drained.)
When the beans are almost ready, cook the celery and garlic in teh olive oil in a large saucepan over moderate heat. When the garlic is golden, discard it. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste (I skipped the paste), water, pepperoncino, and salt to taste. (this is where I added cooked Italian sausage) Simmer for 10 minutes, or until the sauce is slightly thickened.
Add the beans and their cooking liquid, or the canned beans, to the tomato sauce. Bring the mixture to a simmer, mashing some of the beans with the back of a large spoon.
Stir in the pasta and cook, stirring often, until the pasta is al dente, tender, yet still firm to the bite. The mixture should be very thick, but add a little boiling water if it seems too thick. Turn of the heat and let stand for 10 minutes before serving.
Recipe out of The Sopranos Family Cookbook