See the Recipe. Paolo Destefanis

In place of barley, some versions of this soup use farro—a term that, in Italy, can refer to spelt, emmer wheat, or einkorn, all early ancestors of wheat.

Yield: serves 4


  • 12 lb. dried cranberry beans, soaked overnight in water, then drained
  • 14 lb. pearl barley
  • 14 lb. pancetta, finely chopped
  • 1 onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 potato, peeled and cut into 1/2” cubes
  • 1 stalk celery, diced
  • 12 bunch fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • Leaves from 1 sprig fresh rosemary, finely chopped
  • 6 fresh basil leaves, finely chopped
  • 4 fresh sage leaves, finely chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper


  1. Combine beans, barley, pancetta, onions, potatoes, celery, parsley, rosemary, basil, sage, and bay leaf in a large heavy pot and cover with water by 2”. Simmer over medium-low heat until beans and barley are tender and soup is thick, about 2 hours, adding more water if soup gets too thick. Remove bay leaf before serving. Season to taste with salt and plenty of pepper.