Marcella Hazan’s Bean & Barley Soup

Marcella Hazan always knows what we need. When we flipped through this recipe in “Marcella Cucina,” there was no doubt that it’s exactly what frigid winter 2015 calls for.

Here Bean & Barley Soup (adapted from Marcella Hazan)!
Serves 4-6 people


1 pound Swiss chard
1/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 cup finely chopped onion
2 celery stalks
3 carrots
1 400gr tin of 100% Italian Tomatoes
1/2 cup Pearled Barley (Orzo Perlato)
3/4 cup dried Beans
Sea salt
Black pepper ground fresh
Freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
cheese for the table


1. Soak dried beans overnight
2. Soak the chard in cold water for about 10 minutes, then rinse well. Cut the stalks and leaves into short thin strips
3. Prepare a soffritto in a soup pot by heating the olive oil and onion on medium heat, stirring until onion turns light gold
4. Add the carrot and celery. After 6 or 7 minutes, add the tomatoes, breaking them up with a wooden spoon
5. After about 10 minutes, add the chard and some salt. Mix the contents well, turn the heat down to the lowest setting, add the beans, the barley and 4 cups of hot water until beans are cooked (about 20-30 mins). If you would like a thicker consistency, simmer for longer.
6. Add salt and a some pepper and stir
7. Serve with grated Parmigiano and a swirl of olive oil

Join the Conversation

  1. The Swiss chard isn’t in the recipe! Just the ingredients…is it part of the Sofrito?

  2. Oops. I found the chard. Sorry.

  3. says:

    🙂 🙂 Let us know if you have any other questions, Anne!

  4. Pat Outland says:

    What are purgatorio beans? Are they chickpeas?

  5. Melinda Padgett says:

    Made it this weekend – delicious! Made it per the recipe which was spot on, and with the Bio Alberti brand pearled barley and Cannellini beans. They are very good quality and would buy them again, and will make this soup again.

  6. What kind of dried beans did you use? I have a variety of beans (different white beans, pink beans, red beans, etc) from Rancho Gordo. They are dried and I usually brine but I don’t think I can get them done in 30 minutes of cooking, so do wait to add the barley until they are almost done? This looks so dang good I’m gonna have to try it!

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