Photo: James Carrier
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.

How to Make It

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.

Ratings & Reviews

AJLSickau's Review

July 23, 2012
This soup was excellent! I used canned white beans and prepared pesto, also added a little shredded parmigiano cheese on top to finish. I omitted the leek and celery, used turkey bacon (instead of pancetta), added a couple cloves of garlic, and used kale in place of the cabbage and chard. It was delicious!

lnzinatl's Review

April 12, 2012

momokerr's Review

January 24, 2011
This soup is delicious, hearty and healthy. I used canned lima beans and store bought pesto which makes it much quicker on the prep. Might consider adding Italian sausage (fry first) if you need a heartier soup. Serve with sour dough bread for a full meal.