Pasta And Bean Soup

* rinsed well, then drained GARNISH: grated Parmesan cheese, optional Cook pasta in boiling water for about 6 minutes, until al dente. While pasta is cooking, in Dutch oven or 4-5 qt saucepan, heat oil. Stir in onion, garlic, and green pepper. Saute till tender. Stir in remaining ingredients except macaroni. Cover and cook for 10 minutes. When pasta is done, drain well. Stir into other ingredients. Heat. Garnish if desired. Variations: substitute or add other vegetables such as chopped sweet red pepper, broccoli florets, or sliced mushrooms. ~ for Minestrone, substitute olive oil for safflower; add shredded carrot to sauteed veggies; substitute 1 t basil and 1 t oregano for savory, thyme, and cayenne pepper. ~ to serve as skillet main course, add only 1 cup vegetable stock, or use 3 cups vegetable stock and 1 cup pasta.