Minestrone alla Genovese
1/3 cup dry white or mottled beans
3 cups cold water
3 ounces unsmoked bacon (salt pork) or fatty smoked turkey
1 onion, chopped
1 carrot, sliced
1 stalk of celery, diced
extra virgin olive oil needed
8 ripe tomatoes, peeled, seeded, skinned and diced
6 cups beef or vegetable broth
1 bay leaf
1 big sprig of fresh rosemary
1/4 pound green beans, trimmed and cut into bite-size pieces
2 zucchini, sliced
Leaves from 1/2 bunch spinach, washed and coarsely chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
1 cup shell-shaped pasta
About 1 cup pesto with a little extra garlic added
Parmesan Reggiano, Pecorino Romano, or other grating cheese, as desired
Cook beans until they are tender. Meanwhile, saute the bacon, onion, carrot and celery in olive oil, (add more if needed) until the vegetables are just softened, add the tomatoes and continue to sauté 2 minutes.
Add the broth, bay leaf and rosemary, cover and bring to a boil., reduce the heat and simmer (about 30 minutes) until the vegetable mixture is fragrant.
Add the green beans, zucchini, spinach and cooked beans, season with salt and pepper and simmer until vegetables are just tender.
Meanwhile, cook the pasta al dente, use a vegetable parer to shave thin slices of cheese into a serving dish to pass at the table, warm your soup bowls and place a generous spoon of pesto in the bottom of each. Drain and add to the soup pot, taste and adjust seasoning.