Heat oil in large Dutch oven over medium-high heat until hot. Add onion, bell pepper, celery and garlic; cook and stir 2 minutes. Stir in water, ham, salt, thyme, oregano, black pepper, ground red pepper and bay leaves. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat. Cover; simmer 1 hour.
Add beans to ham mixture; bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low. Cover; simmer 1 hour or until beans are tender.
Carefully ladle 1 cup bean mixture into food processor or blender container. Cover; process until mixture is smooth. Returnpureed mixture to Dutch oven; stir in sausage and tomato paste.
Cook, uncovered, over medium heat 10 minutes or until thickened and bubbly, stirring occasionally. Remove bay leaves; discard. Serve in bowls over hot cooked rice.