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.
- 1⁄2 lb. dried cranberry beans, soaked overnight in water, then drained
- 1⁄4 lb. pearl barley
- 1⁄4 lb. pancetta, finely chopped
- 1 onion, peeled and finely chopped
- 1 potato, peeled and cut into 1/2'' cubes
- 1 stalk celery, diced
- 1⁄2 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
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.
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