Bean barley soup
Minestra di fagioli e orzo
Bean barley soup is not the kind of dish that will keep you awake at night dreaming about the elegant and exquisite flavour. It is peasant food like vegetarian chickpea soup or pasta and beans designed to nourish and feed big families at the lowest possible cost. By this standard the traditional bean barley soup from Friuli in the north east of Italy is simply outstanding. It definitely tastes a lot better than it looks.
200 g dried borlotti beans (canned beans can be used instead)
4 short ribs (beef) or spare ribs (pork)
50 g pancetta or bacon
2 cloves of garlic
1 stalk of celery
100 g orzo (barley)
Olive oil, salt, pepper
Soak dried beans in water overnight.
Drain and cover beans and meat in 2 litres of fresh water.
Bring the pot to the boil. Skim off impurities. And let it simmer for 1-1½ hours until beans and meat are tender.
Peel and chop onion, carrots, celery and garlic.
Fry the pancetta and take it aside.
Fry onion, garlic, carrots and celery lightly for 5 minutes.
Take the ribs out of the stock, and grill them for 10-15 minutes with your choice of barbecue sauce.
Pour stock and beans over the vegetables and let them boil.
Blend the soup to a smooth cream.
Add barley grains, fried pancetta, salt and pepper and let it simmer for another 12 minutes, till the barley grains are ready.
Serve the bean barley soup with ribs and plenty of kitchen paper.