Heat olive oil in a large deep skillet over medium heat. Add onion, carrot and celery, cook until vegetables are slightly softened, 5 minutes. Add 1 cup water, season with salt and pepper, cover, cook until tender,10 minutes.
Meanwhile, finely chop sage, thyme, and garlic together. Stir beans and chopped herbs mixture into vegetables
Cook pasta according to package directions, for 5 minutes. Add escarole, stir and cook, until shells are al dente, 1 to 2 minutes more. Drain.
Add pasta and escarole to the vegetables. Stir in 3/4 cup cheese, season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve with grated cheese and a dollup of tomato pesto if desired.
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