You will love this summery Italian soup with pesto and seasonal vegetables. Serve it hot with a slice of your favorite crusty bread.
Traditional Minestrone Soup
This recipe is a very traditional Italian minestrone soup from Liguria, my home region. It’s usually prepared at home as a Sunday lunch, but you can also find it at any local restaurant. The name Minestrone Genovese literally translates to big soup Genovese style, and that is exactly what this is: a thick, filling and very satisfying vegetable stew enriched with pesto, extra virgin olive oil and parmesan cheese.
In fact, what makes this recipe so unique is exactly the addition of a generous amount of traditional basil pesto. In the end, it’s Genovese soup we are talking about! Check out my recipe for homemade pesto so you can make this dish as authentic and tasty as possible. This gives the dish a completely new dimension and enhances the flavors of the other ingredients in a wonderful way.
As it’s so easy to make and it’s a very forgiving recipe, this was one of the first dishes my grandmother thought me how to cook. Even today, when I prepare minestrone in my own house, I can still smell the distinct aroma of her old kitchen.
Cooking with Seasonal Vegetables
Minestrone is usually made with seasonal vegetables, so the taste changes a little according to the time of the year you prepare it. This is my winter version, but of course you can use any greens you have on hand. In this case however, I’d suggest avoiding those vegetables with a stronger flavor like bell peppers or fennel as they could overpower the final flavor of the soup.
When the minestrone is done cooking, you can decide on the thickness of your minestrone soup. I usually blend half the amount of the vegetables and leave the rest chunky, but you can go totally in one direction or in the other according to your personal taste.
Finally, as this Italian minestrone soup takes a while to prepare, I usually make it in large batches and freeze some of it for later use. However, if you just want to try it out you can definitely halve the ingredients without any issue.
- 4 medium potatoes
- 1 large onion
- 1 medium carrot
- 1/2 celery stalk
- 2 zucchini
- 1 tomato
- 1/4 head small cabbage
- 1 slice pumpkin
- 1 pound swiss chard (or any other leafy green)
- 2 cups chicken stock or vegetable stock
- 1 piece parmesan cheese rind
- 1/4 cup fresh or frozen green peas
- 3/4 cup canned beans, preferably borlotti or cannellini
- 3 tbsps extra virgin olive oil, plus some more for drizzling
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Freshly grated Parmesan cheese, to taste
- 1 cup homemade pesto, or as much as you like (recipe below)
- Clean and cut vegetables into a small dice, about 1/4-inch thick.
- Put the diced vegetables into your pressure cooker, add chicken stock and Parmesan rind.
- Pour in enough water to cover everything plus 1 inch.
- Cook on medium-low heat for (not sure – it’s about 45 minutes without pressure cooker)
- When the vegetables are ready, add green peas, beans, extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper. Stir well and cook for another 10 minutes.
- The soup is ready. If you like, you can now purée the whole minestrone with a blender or just a few ladlefuls to make it smoother.
- Serve adding one or two tablespoons of handmade pesto to each dish, some freshly grated Parmesan cheese and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.
Leave A Comment