A simple, peasant style soup, quick and easy to throw together when you don't have much in the fridge. Feel free to substitute cooked sausage, a bit of bacon, or even shredded chicken for the ham. And you can always toss in more vegetables if you like, maybe carrots or tomatoes or perhaps some chopped greens at the very end. A Parmesan rind would also add nicely to the flavor if you have one in the freezer.
8-10 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 1/2 - 2 cups cubed cooked ham
1 1/2 - 2 cups cooked white beans (or kidney beans)
Chicken stock (or ham stock if you have it)
8 oz. uncooked pasta (shells, gemelli, or macaroni are good)
Salt and pepper to taste
Heat a little olive oil in a soup pot. Add the garlic and onion and saute for 3-5 minutes, until tender. Add the ham and beans and enough stock to generously cover, bearing in mind you'll need to cook pasta in the liquid. Bring to a boil, then add the pasta and cook until tender. Add salt and pepper to taste.