This is the Ligurian version of minestrone with lots of fresh herbs and the final addition of a flavourful rosemary pesto stirred into the finished soup.
Add the beans, cabbage, carrots, spinach, lettuce and tomato paste. Stir and sweat these gently while heating the stock. Pour in the stock and stir. Cover and simmer for about 1½ hours, adding more stock if it seems needed to cover the vegetables well.
Meanwhile, put garlic, parsley, rosemary, Parmesan and chilli into a mortar and pound to a paste. Push this pesto mixture through a sieve and set aside. (Alternatively, use a food processor, then sieve.)
Toss the pasta into the soup and cook until tender, then stir in the pesto mixture. Stir and allow to stand for a few minutes. Ladle out into bowls, cover with grated cheese and serve immediately.
© 1995 Valentina Harris. All rights reserved.