Creamy Trentino soup with pearl barley and speck : orzetto alla trentina

Here is a soup recipe with pearl barley. It is a specialty from Trentino Alto Adige, where my husband comes from. Of course, there is some speck in it, a very special sort of smokey bacon that is so tasty!

This soup is so delicious and creamy because of the pearl barley starch. It is called orzetto alla trentina. Don’t mix it up with orzotto, which is a risotto made with pearl barley. Orzo means pearl barley in Italian. It is very yummy and generous with this dice of vegetables, smokey bacon and cheese. With this recipe, no more waste of parmesan rind or bacon!

And as winter comes, it is just so yummy and perfect for a hygge moment. The easy and simple comfort food!

Orzotto alla trentina

Makes 5 to 6 mains

  • 2 carrots
  • 1 celery stalk
  • 2 potatoes
  • 1 onion
  • 30 to 50 g of speck or smokey bacon
  • 100 g pearl barley
  • 80 g of parmesan rind (zero waste cooking!)
  • Parsley
  • Olive oil

Dice the speck and vegetables (brunoise).

Sauté the speck with a drizzle of olive oil in a big sauce pan.

Add the minced onion, and sauté for a few minutes. Then add the carrots, celery and potatoes. Again, sauté for a few minutes to concentrate the flavors.

Calculate the volume of pearl barley with cups then bring to a boil 4 times this volume of water.

Then, add some little more of olive oil and the pearl barley. Sauté for a few minutes like for a risotto.

Add the boiling water in the sauce pan and simmer.

Cut the parmesan rind in dice and add them to the pearl barley soup. Stir and salt at your liking.

Simmer for about 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until the pearl barley is done. Of course, if too much water evaporates, don’t hesitate to add some more. The soup should be creamy but not too thick.

Don’t forget to stir the pearl barley soup from time to time so that it doesn’t stick to the bottom.

When it’s ready, add some chopped fresh parsley and serve with a drizzle of olive oil and freshly ground pepper.

Like many dishes full of flavors, it is even more tasty the day after.

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