this soup is easy. like most soups are. in the interest of full disclosure, it may take up to three hours, depending on the beans you use. there. easy. not quick. mighty tasty. so tasty in fact, that the resident princess ate that entire bowl in 5 minutes flat. sans the meat, of course. don't push it, now.
get two smoked pork hocks. wash them in cold water and set them to boil with a bayleaf, a whole peeled onion, a few peppercorns, the stringy part of the celery stalks you'll use in the finished soup, and a parsley root. simmer until the meat is tender and easy to pull apart. strain the broth and discard everything but the hocks. while the stock is simmering boil the beans in a separate pot, or use canned beans and eliminate this step. i've used both and i wish i could stand here and say that the ones you boil are infinitely superior, but they're not. the only difference is, the canned ones have a lot of sodium, so adjust seasoning accordingly. (be sure to give them a rinse before using, you don't want the can juices in the soup.)
in the meantime, chop 3-4 stalks celery, 2-3 carrots, and 1 green bell pepper. when the hocks are cool enough to handle pull the meat from the bone and cube it. add meat and veggies to the strained broth, with the beans and a handful of pasta. pick something small shaped. when they're almost cooked add 6 to 8 oz tomato sauce or juice. sprinkle in some chopped parsley and a squeeze of lemon juice (or a bit of vinegar). correct seasoning and you're done. serve it with sour cream. we like to have onion on the side with this, julienned and then 'kneaded' with salt, pepper and olive oil.