Minestrone Borghese

Minestrone Borghese

Encyclopedia of Food and Cookery

This hearty Italian soup varies from region to region and cook to cook. In general, the name minestrone applies to a very thick vegetable soup containing a variety of fresh and dried vegetables, further thickened with some form of pasta or rice. Grated parmesan cheese is nearly always served with minestrone, and in Genoa, the unique basil sauce pesto alla Genovese is stirred into the soup just before serving.

Minestrone is almost a meal in itself; serve with plenty of crusty bread, followed with a crisp green salad and fresh fruit. Serve the soup in deep bowls so guests may stir in plenty of freshly grated parmesan cheese.


Quantity Ingredient
90g butter
125g ham, finely diced
1 onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
2 tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped
3 sticks celery, diced
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
2 litres chicken stock
4 potatoes, diced
235g elbow macaroni or other pasta
4 zucchini, peeled and sliced
2 red peppers, cored, seeded and sliced
2 sprigs fresh basil
or 1 teaspoon dried basil
parmesan cheese, grated, to serve


  1. Melt butter in a saucepan and cook ham gently until golden. Add onion and garlic and cook until translucent. Add tomatoes, cover and simmer for about 10 minutes. Stir in celery and season with salt and pepper. Add stock and bring to the boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes.
  2. Mix in potatoes and cook for 15 minutes longer. Add pasta. Cook until nearly tender, then add zucchini, red peppers and basil and cook for a further 10 minutes. Serve with grated parmesan cheese.


  • If using dried basil, add it when you add the tomatoes.
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