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Minestrone, Genoa-style

Ligurians love vegetables and minestrone is a signature soup; it is often eaten on Sunday and at room temperature. Pesto gives the soup its classic and elegant taste and is best made with a mortar and pestle. Ligurians use the smallest leaf basil they can find to make pesto.

Serves 8


For the soup

1/4 pound white cabbage, chopped in small pieces

2 carrots, diced

2 leeks, white part only, sliced into thin rounds

2 tomatoes, diced

2 small zucchini, diced

1 medium onion, chopped

1 clove garlic, minced

1 small bunch parsley, chopped

1/4 pound green beans, cut into thirds

2 potatoes, peeled and diced

1/4 pound presoaked and pre-cooked borlotti beans

1/4  cup Filippo Berio olive oil

1 small Parmigiano Reggiano cheese rind, if available

6 ounces short soup noodle such as orzo

1 tablespoon pesto sauce

Salt to taste

Grated Parmigiano Reggiano for sprinkling

Pesto alla Genovese

1 bunch basil (2 cups packed leaves)

1 clove garlic

2 tablespoons pine nuts

Coarse salt

1/3 cup grated pecorino cheese, parmigiano or grana padano

2 to 4 tablespoons organic or extra virgin olive oil



Bring 2 quarts of water to a boil in a soup pot. Add the vegetables and herbs. Cook until tender over medium high heat. Add the borlotti beans, olive oil and cheese rind. Stir in the noodles and cook over medium high heat until they are al dente.

Stir in the pesto sauce. Add salt to taste. Serve in bowls with a grating of the Parmigiano Reggiano cheese

For the pesto
Grind the leaves in a mortar and pestle with the a few grains of salt until it is pulpy. Add nuts and grind to a sauce consistency. Transfer to bowl; stir in cheese and enough organic or extra virgin olive oil to make a dense but free flowing sauce.

This recipe is featured on show 2326 - Cooking of Liguria.


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