Roman Soup with Pasta and Vegetables

Minestra di Pasta e Verdure alla Romana


In reading an old Italian book on pasta I came across a mention of a Roman soup with pasta and “various lettuces”. It sounded interesting so I decided to try making it with Swiss chard, mustard greens, savoy cabbage and butter lettuce. The result was a wonderful, elegant soup that far exceeded my expectations.

Total Time from Start to Finish: 1 hour and 30 minutes


  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup yellow onion, finely chopped
  • ¼ cup carrots, peeled and finely diced
  • ¼ cup celery, finely diced
  • 1 ounce pancetta, finely diced
  • ½ teaspoon fresh rosemary or ¼ teaspoon dried, finely chopped
  • 1 ½ cups Swiss chard leaves, washed and roughly chopped
  • 1 cup mustard green leaves, washed and roughly chopped
  • 1 ½ cups butter lettuce, washed and roughly chopped
  • 2 cups savoy cabbage, finely shredded
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 5 cups homemade meat broth or 1 beef bouillon cube dissolved in 5 cups water
  • 6 ounces cavatappi or short tubular pasta
  • ¼ cup Parmigiano-Reggiano, freshly grated


  1. Put the butter and 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a 4- to 5-quart soup pot and place over medium low heat. Add the onion, carrots and celery and Sauté until they are lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Add the pancetta and rosemary and continue cooking until it is lightly browned but not crisp.
  2. Add the Swiss chard, mustard greens, butter lettuce, and savoy cabbage and season with salt and pepper. After they have wilted continue Sautéing for about 2 minutes. Add the broth and once it begins to boil turn the heat down to low and cover the pot. Cook for one hour.
  3. Raise the heat to medium high, add the pasta and cook with the cover on until the pasta is cooked al dente. Serve in soup bowls and sprinkle 1 tablespoon of the grated Parmigiano and ½ tablespoon olive oil over each serving.