Zuppa d’Orzo
Barley Soup
1 cup (150 gr) pearl barley
1 stick celery, diced
1 carrot, diced
1 medium onion, diced
3 tablespoons Italian parsley, finely chopped
2 cans, approximately 1 lb (450 gr) borlotti beans, drained
4 cups (approximately 1 liter) broth
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 oz (30 gr) butter
3 oz (85 gr) bacon, finely diced
salt and pepper
Soak the pearl barley in a small bowl filled with water for about 1 hour.
Place half of the beans in a food processor and reduce to purée.
In a saucepan, bring the broth to a boil.

Prepare “soffritto” chopping  celery, carrot, onion, and half of the parsley finely together.

In a large saucepan, put the extra-virgin olive oil and butter, and turn heat to medium. When the butter starts foaming, add the chopped vegetables. Sauté for few seconds.

Add bacon and sauté until the onion is soft and translucent and the bacon is lightly brown.
Add the puréed beans, the whole beans the hot broth, salt, and pepper. Stir to combine.
Drain the pearl barley, and stir into the soup.

Cook for about 25 minutes, stirring occasionally, to prevent the soup from sticking to the pan. Adjust salt if necessary. When the barley is soft, turn heat off, spread the rest of the chopped parsley over the soup, and and let it rest covered in the saucepan for about 5 minutes before serving.

If the soup is prepared in advance, the barley will absorb most of the water, and the soup will become very dense. In this case, reserve some of the broth, heat it and stir it into the soup just before serving.