Minestrone, Genoa Style / Minestrone alla Moda Genovese

In Genoa as well as in Sorrento, this soup is often eaten at room temperature, although in Sorrento, pesto is not added. The soup is often eaten on Sunday night, after the big meal on Sunday afternoon; and in many small villages, it is still made with rainwater collected in barrels. Be sure to soak the beans a day before you make the soup.

Serves 8-10


  • 1/4 pound cannellini or borlotti (cranberry) beans, soaked overnight
  • 3 tablespoons Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 2 leeks, washed and chopped, white part only
  • 1 medium eggplant (1 pound ), peeled and diced
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 2 ribs celery, sliced
  • 2 medium potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 2 medium tomatoes, diced
  • 2 cups hot chicken broth
  • 4 cups hot water
  • 1 cup chopped raw spinach
  • 1 cup diced zucchini
  • 1 cup shredded green cabbage
  • 1/4 pound vermicelli or stelline
  • 3 tablespoons Pesto
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Drain the beans from the soaking water, place them in a pot, cover with water, and cook about 30 minutes, or until still quite al dente, and set aside.
  2. In a large pot, heat the oil. Add the onion, leeks, eggplant, carrots, celery, and potatoes and sauté for about 8 minutes, or until the vegetables just begin to exude their juices.
  3. Add the tomatoes, hot broth, hot water, beans, and additional hot water to just cover the mixture. Bring to a boil, lower the heat to a simmer, and cook covered for about 30 minutes.
  4. Add the spinach, zucchini, cabbage, and pasta and cook another 20 minutes or until the pasta is al dente. Stir in the Pesto. Add salt and pepper to taste and serve immediately.
  5. Note: There is a saying in Genoa that chi mangia pesto, non lascia mai Genova - "He who eats pesto never leaves Genoa."

This recipe was featured on Season 3 - Episode 301.

Print This Recipe


Elizabeth Porter

I’m glad I consulted this recipe before making this traditional soup for (2) reasons: Several other recipes instructed to cook the vegetables in the boiling broth or water instead of in oil. I didn’t want to risk. Sequencing the addition of the different vegetables also makes for a better product. Lastly, I used canned beans with good results.

Leave a comment

Your comment will be revised by the site if needed.