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Minestrone alla genovese

Genoa Style Vegetable Soup
Cook Time2 hrs
Course: Soup
Cuisine: Liguria
Keyword: soup, vegetable


  • 200 g (1 cup) 200 g (1 cup) dried beans preferably borlotti
  • 1 medium leek
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 stalk celery
  • 150 g (5 oz) green beans
  • 1 medium 1 medium zucchini
  • 1/4 small head green cabbage preferably of the Savoy variety
  • 100 g (3-1/2 oz) 100g (3-1/2 oz) Swiss chard leaves (or spinach)
  • 1-2 small 1-2 small potatoes
  • 1/4 small pumpkin (about 250g/8 oz) skinned and seeded
  • 1 small eggplant
  • 1 piece Parmesan rind (optional)
  • 200 g (7 oz) 200g (7 oz) ditalini or other soup pasta (see Notes)
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

For final enrichment

  • 1 batch homemade pesto


  • Let the beans soak overnight. Discard the soaking water and replace with fresh water to cover them well. Simmer in a large pot until nearly tender, about an hour.
  • While the beans are simmering, trim and cut up all the other vegetables into a small dice,
  • When the beans have cooked sufficiently, add the vegetables to the pot and enough water to cover them by a good 3cm/1 inch, along with a drizzle of olive oil and a good pinch of salt, and the Parmesan rind if using. Simmer gently for a good 45 minutes.
  • Take a ladleful or two of the soup and purée it in a blender. Add back to the pot, along with the pasta and, if things look too thick or dry, more water. Simmer for another 8-10 minutes, mixing from time to time to avoid scorching or sticking, until the pasta is done.
  • Let the soup rest for a few minutes, then mix in the pesto before serving.