A splash of moscato d’Asti, a northern Italian dessert wine, adds a wonderful brightness to this simple barley and vegetable soup. Opt for a slightly more dry moscato, if possible, to avoid making the dish too sweet.
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- 1 tbsp. vegetable oil
- 8 oz. smoked cooked ham, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
- 2 small carrots, finely chopped
- 2 small yellow onions, finely chopped
- 1 medium leek, halved crosswise and thinly sliced
- 1 medium parsnip, finely chopped
- 1⁄2 small celery root, finely chopped
- 1 cup pearl barley
- 4 cups chicken stock
- 2 large russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tbsp. heavy cream
- Moscato d’Asti, for serving
- Finely chopped chives, to garnish
- In a large saucepan, heat the oil over medium-high. Add the ham and cook, stirring, until golden brown, about 6 minutes. Stir in the carrots, onions, leek, parsnip, and celery root and cook, stirring, until slightly softened, about 8 minutes. Add the barley and cook, stirring, until lightly toasted, about 2 minutes. Stir in the stock and 4 cups water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to maintain a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until the barley is half-cooked, about 35 minutes.
- Add the potatoes to the soup and cook until tender, about 25 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and season with salt and pepper. Stir in the cream and ladle the soup into serving bowls. Add a splash of moscato to each bowl and sprinkle with chives before serving.