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Genoese Vegetable Soup

Makes 10 to 12 servings

Notes: If making up to 2 days ahead, cover and chill; reheat to serve. For a quick start, omit dried lima beans and step 1. In step 4, use 2 cans (15 oz. each) butter (lima) beans, rinsed and drained, and add 2 1/2 cups more broth. If making pesto up to 2 days ahead, cover airtight and chill; stir before using. Or buy 1 cup pesto.

Genoese Vegetable Soup

Photo: James Carrier
 3/4 pound dried lima beans (see notes)
 1 leek (about 1 1/4 in. wide)
 1/4 pound thin-sliced pancetta, finely chopped
  About 12 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
 1 cup chopped onion
 1 cup chopped celery
 1/3 cup finely chopped Italian parsley
 1 can (49 1/2 oz.) fat-skimmed chicken broth
 1 can (28 oz.) diced tomatoes with Italian seasonings
 1 Yukon Gold or other thin-skinned potato (1/2 lb.), scrubbed, peeled, and cut into 1/2-inch chunks
 2 carrots (6 oz. total), rinsed, peeled, and cut into 1/2-inch chunks
 3 cups finely shredded cabbage (7 to 8 oz.)
 3 cups thinly sliced Swiss chard (7 to 8 oz.)
 1/3 pound green beans, ends and strings removed, rinsed, and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
 1/2 pound zucchini, ends trimmed, rinsed, and cut into 1/2-inch chunks
  Pesto alla genovese
  Salt and pepper
Step 1

Sort lima beans, discarding debris. Rinse beans, put in a 3- to 4-quart pan, and add 1 1/2 quarts water. Bring to a boil over high heat; remove from heat and let stand at least 1 hour or overnight. Drain beans, add 1 1/2 quarts water, and bring to a boil over high heat. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until beans are tender to bite, about 20 minutes. Drain beans; reserve liquid.

Step 2

Meanwhile, trim and discard stem end and tough green top from leek; peel off and discard tough outer layer. Cut leek in half lengthwise and hold under cold running water, flipping layers to rinse well. Thinly slice crosswise.

Step 3

In an 8- to 10-quart pan over medium heat, frequently stir pancetta in 2 tablespoons olive oil just until limp, about 2 minutes. Add leek, onion, celery, and parsley; stir often over medium-high heat until vegetables begin to brown, 10 to 15 minutes.

Step 4

To pan, add 2 1/2 cups reserved bean-cooking liquid (save remainder for other uses or discard), drained beans, broth, tomatoes with juice, potatoes, and carrots. Bring to a boil over high heat; cover, reduce heat, and simmer, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes.

Step 5

Add cabbage, Swiss chard, green beans, and zucchini; cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, until all vegetables are very tender to bite, 20 to 25 minutes longer.

Step 6

Ladle soup equally into bowls; spoon 1 tablespoon olive oil and about 1/2 tablespoon pesto alla genovese into each portion. Serve with remaining pesto and salt and pepper to add to taste.

Nutrition Facts

Servings 0

Amount Per Serving
Calories 331Calories from Fat 71
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 26g40%

Saturated Fat 5.4g27%
Cholesterol 9.6mg4%
Sodium 287mg12%
Total Carbohydrate 18g6%

Dietary Fiber 3.8g16%
Protein 9.2g19%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily value may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.