Zuppa di Orzo e Fagioli (Bean and Barley Soup)


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

Prep Time:
10 mins
Cook Time:
50 mins
Additional Time:
1 hr 5 mins
Total Time:
2 hrs 5 mins
4 servings


  • ½ pound pearl barley

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

  • 2 ounces pancetta bacon, diced

  • ¾ onion, chopped

  • 1 carrot, chopped

  • 1 stalk celery, chopped

  • 2 (15 ounce) cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed, divided

  • water to cover

  • 2 teaspoons salt

  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • 1 sprig fresh rosemary

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, or as desired


  1. Place barley into a bowl and cover with several inches of cool water; let stand for 1 hour. Drain.

  2. Heat the oil in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium-high heat. Add pancetta and cook until slightly crisp, about 3 or 4 minutes. Stir onion, carrot, and celery into pancetta and cook until vegetables are slightly softened, 2 to 3 minutes.

  3. Mix half of the beans into vegetable-pancetta mixture and pour in enough water to cover; stir in barley and remaining beans. Season mixture with salt and pepper. Bring liquid to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer for 40 minutes, stirring regularly and adding more water if soup gets too thick.

  4. Remove saucepan from heat and allow to sit for 5 minutes. Serve soup with rosemary leaves and a drizzle of olive oil.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

536 Calories
18g Fat
77g Carbs
18g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 4
Calories 536
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 18g 23%
Saturated Fat 3g 14%
Cholesterol 5mg 2%
Sodium 1739mg 76%
Total Carbohydrate 77g 28%
Dietary Fiber 19g 69%
Total Sugars 3g
Protein 18g
Vitamin C 5mg 24%
Calcium 114mg 9%
Iron 5mg 30%
Potassium 438mg 9%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

** Nutrient information is not available for all ingredients. Amount is based on available nutrient data.

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a medically restrictive diet, please consult your doctor or registered dietitian before preparing this recipe for personal consumption.

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