Zuppa di orzo e fagioli (Bean and barley soup)

    2 hours 5 min

    A hearty and filling Italian soup packed with vegetables, pancetta, cannellini beans and pearl barley.

    London, England, UK
    14 people made this

    Serves: 4 

    • 200g pearl barley
    • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
    • 60g cubetti di pancetta
    • ¬ĺ onion, chopped
    • 1 carrot, chopped
    • 1 stick celery, chopped
    • 2 (400g) tins cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
    • 2 teaspoons salt
    • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    • 1 litre water
    • Fresh rosemary leaves, for serving
    • Extra virgin olive oil, for drizzling

    Prep:10min  ›  Cook:55min  ›  Extra time:1hr soaking  ›  Ready in:2hr5min 

    1. Cover the barley with cold water and let it soak for one hour; drain and set aside.
    2. Heat the oil in a heavy bottomed saucepan over medium high heat. Add pancetta and cook until it starts to crisp up, about 3 or 4 minutes. Stir in the chopped onion, carrot and celery. Cook for another few minutes, or until the vegetables have softened slightly.
    3. Add half of the beans and pour in enough water to cover. Stir in barley and remaining beans. Season with salt and pepper; simmer for 40 minutes, stirring regularly and adding more water if it's getting too thick for your taste.
    4. Remove from the heat; allow to sit for 5 minutes before serving with a few rosemary leaves and a drizzle of olive oil.

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    Reviews in English (3)


    Omitted the celery. Swapped the pancetta for spicy chorizo for a little kick and less stock to make it more substantial for a complete meal. Will definitely make again.  -  05 Nov 2016


    I didn't add the celery but this soup was delicious! I will be making this again  -  07 Oct 2012


    This turned out great! When I got home from the store I discovered that I had less barley than I thought, so I supplemented with some wild rice and orzo pasta (pasta added last 8 mins) instead. I also doubled the bacon as it was our main dish that night. So it was great. Next time I would add more water than I had thought I needed the first time I made it.  -  18 Dec 2016  (Review from Allrecipes US | Canada)