Pasta e Fagioli means simply "pasta and beans" and there are many variations of this traditional Italian soup. If you have an Italian grandmother, this is the soup she probably made for you, or perhaps you've had a version of it at an Italian restaurant. Either way, this soup is Italian comfort food at its best.
Heat olive oil (either in the Ninja Cooker or in a pan on the stove) and saute the onions until they start to soften, about 4 minutes. Add the celery and carrots and cook 3-4 minutes more, then add the minced garlic, Italian Herb Blend, Spike Seasoning, ground fennel, and red pepper flakes and cook about a minute more. (Transfer to the slow cooker if you're using a pan on the stove.)
While the vegetables are cooking, put the beans in a colander placed in the sink and rinse well with cold water, until no more foam appears. When vegetables are done, add the drained beans, vegetable broth, tomato sauce, salt, and fresh ground black pepper to the slow cooker (along with the Parmesan rinds if you have some) and cook on high for 3-4 hours (or on low for 6-7 hours.)
Add the orzo (or other small pasta shape) and cook about 40 minutes more. Remove Parmesan rinds and stir in the balsamic vinegar. Serve soup hot, with freshly grated Parmesan and chopped fresh parsley to add at the table.
This soup freezes well!
Source: Kalyn's Kitchen