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Minestra Di Fagioli

This soup, made with beans and whole-grain hulled barley, is often overlooked in favor of the more popular minestrone, made with beans and pasta. The barley enriches the soup with a nutty flavor and more fiber.



Minestra Di Fagioli Recipe


1 cup dried great northern beans
1⁄2 cup dried hull-less whole-grain barley (not pearled or semi-pearled barley)
6 cups (11⁄2 quarts) vegetable broth
2 medium yellow potatoes, peeled and cut into 1⁄2-inch chunks (about 1 cup)
1 medium yellow or white onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
2 medium celery stalks, thinly sliced (about 1⁄2 cup)
1 medium carrot, peeled and coarsely chopped (about 1⁄4 cup)
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 teaspoon dried basil
1⁄2 teaspoon ground sage
1 (4-inch) fresh rosemary sprig
1 bay leaf
1⁄2 cup loosely packed fresh Italian flat-leaf parsley leaves, chopped
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
1⁄4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


Soak the beans and barley in a large bowl of water at room temperature for 8 hours or up to 12 hours (that is, overnight).
Drain in a colander set in the sink and rinse well.
Put the beans and barley in a large pot or Dutch oven.
Add the broth, potatoes, onion, celery, carrot, garlic, basil, sage, rosemary, and bay leaf.
Set over high heat and bring to boil, stirring occasionally.
Reduce to low heat, cover, and simmer slowly until the beans and barley are tender, about 1 hour.
Discard the rosemary sprig and bay leaf; stir in the parsley, oil, salt, and pepper before serving.

Cooking Tips

– To enhance the flavors, sauté the onion, garlic, basil, and sage in 1 tablespoon olive oil until the onion is translucent but not browned, then add to the other ingredients before cooking.
– The soup freezes exceptionally well. Store in sealed, single-serving containers in the freezer for up to 4 months.

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