- 1 c. dried borlotti or red kidney beans, rinsed
- 2 oz. sliced pancetta, finely chopped
- 2 T. extra virgin olive oil plus more for drizzling
- 2 celery ribs, chopped
- 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1/2 c. pearled barley, rinsed and drained
- Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- Place the beans in a large bowl with cold water to cover by 2 inches. Soak at least 4 hours or overnight in the refrigerator.
In a large pot, combine the pancetta and oil. Cook over medium heat until the pancetta is lightly browned. Add the celery, carrot, and onion. Cook, stirring frequently, until the vegetables are golden brown, about 10 minutes. Stir in the garlic.
Drain the beans and add them to the pot with 2 quarts water. Bring to a simmer over low heat. Cook 1 hour or until the beans are very tender.
Strain the beans and vegetables, reserving the liquid. Pass the beans through a food mill or puree them in a food processor. Combine the cooking liquid and bean puree in the pot. Add the barley, and salt and pepper to taste. Cook 30 minutes or until the barley is tender. Stir frequently to prevent scorching. Add a little water if the soup becomes too thick. Serve hot or warm with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.
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