1) Put the olive oil and onion in a large, heavy-bottomed stockpot over a medium heat and sauté until the onion turns a rich golden color.
2) Stir in the carrot and celery and sauté for another 2 minutes.
3) Add the tomatoes; turn the heat down to low and simmer for about 10 minutes or, if you are using canned beans in the next step, until the tomatoes have reduced: about 25 minutes.
4) Add the beans, stir well and add the broth. Cover the pot and cook until the beans are tender: about 45 minutes for fresh or dried-and-soaked beans, 5 minutes for canned beans (which are already cooked).
5) Check the density of the soup. It should not be watery but it should have enough liquid for the pasta to cook in it. If necessary add a little more broth or water. Raise the heat to medium-high. When the soup begins to boil, drop in the pasta.
6) When the pasta is al dente, remove the soup from the heat and stir in the grated cheese. The soup is best if you allow it to rest for a few minutes before serving. Once it is ready to serve, ladle it into bowls and season each serving with black pepper and a light drizzle of fresh olive oil.