Tuscan Bean and Barley Soup
- Ready In:
- 2hrs 30mins
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 ounces pancetta, finely chopped
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 carrot, chopped
- 1 stalk celery, chopped
- 1⁄2 fennel bulb, diced
- 2 cups dried beans, soaked overnight and drained (cranberry, cannellini, white kidney, or great Northern beans)
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 5 sprigs fresh rosemary
- 5 sprigs fresh sage
- 2 sprigs fresh thyme
- 1⁄2 cup pearl barley
- fresh ground black pepper
- extra-virgin olive oil
- parmesan cheese, curls
- In a large pot, heat oil over medium heat.
- Add pancetta and saute until golden brown and crispy, about 5 minutes.
- Remove with a slotted spoon to a plate lined with paper towels; set aside.
- Add onion, carrot, celery, and fennel to the pot; saute until softened, about 6 minutes.
- Add beans, garlic, rosemary, sage, thyme, and about 6 cups water, or as much as is needed to cover the beans by about 2 inches; bring to a boil.
- Decrease heat and simmer until beans are tender, about 1 1/2 hours.
- Discard rosemary, sage, and thyme sprigs.
- Meanwhile, cook barley according to package directions and set aside.
- Using an immersion blender, or in a food processor or blender in batches, puree soup until smooth.
- Return to the pot, if necessary.
- Add barley and pancetta; bring to a simmer over medium heat.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Ladle into heated bowls, drizzle with olive oil and garnish with Parmesan curls.
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