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Genoese Vegetable Soup

Photo: James Carrier
Yield 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.


  • 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

Nutrition Information

  • calories 331
  • caloriesfromfat 71 %
  • protein 9.2 g
  • fat 26 g
  • satfat 5.4 g
  • carbohydrate 18 g
  • fiber 3.8 g
  • sodium 287 mg
  • cholesterol 9.6 mg

How to Make It

  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.

  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.

  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.

  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.

  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.

  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.