Zuppa d'orzo – Tyrolean barley soup

This comforting Italian soup recipe hails from the Trentino-Alto Adige region in the north of Italy. It has a pearl barley base and is flavoured with smoked pancetta and winter vegetables. Nice and filling for a cold winter's day – or after a spell on the ski slopes!

First published in 2019




  • 40g of butter
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 150g of smoked pancetta, diced into lardons
  • 1 carrot, peeled and diced
  • 1 celery stick, diced
  • 200g of potatoes, (about 1 large potato), peeled and cut into 1cm cubes
  • 100g of pearl barley
  • 700ml of chicken stock, or vegetable stock
  • 2 bay leaves
  • salt
  • pepper


Melt the butter in a saucepan, then add the onions and smoked pancetta. Sweat down until the onions are soft and the pancetta is lightly golden
Add the carrot and celery and cook for a further 6 minutes until the vegetables are soft
Add the pearl barley, bay leaves, potatoes and stock and simmer for 30 minutes
Taste and season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately

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