Weird but true: parmesan rinds give a wonderful flavour to soup. You can hoard parmesan rinds the whole year (store them in a resealable bag in the freezer) and finally make something like this. But if you can’t wait this long, don’t have a freezer, or will certainly forget those rinds in your freezer, you can easily add them to a “normal” recipe to perk it up.
I’m not sure how Italian this recipe really is, but it is inspired on loads of Italian recipes I’ve seen, and it gives me an Italian vibe. Because of the beans and barley it is a meal in itself, and I would describe the flavour as robust and savoury. The amounts of the ingredients are not that important, so I don’t give measurements in the recipe. Just do what you think is right, that is what I did too, and that is why I’ve got no clue how much I used from everything.
a few parmesan rinds
some sprigs of thyme
a few bay leafs
pearl barley (small handful per person)
can of cannellini beans (a small one is enough for 2 people)
chopped flat-leaf parsley
shavings of parmesan
Heat a large pan with a glug of olive oil. Add the pancetta, sweat for a bit. Then add the onion, cook until translucent. Add carrot and celery, cook until slightly soft and possibly a bit caramelized. Add the garlic and cook for a few minutes longer, taking care not to burn it.
Add water, the parmesan rinds, stock cubes, thyme and bay, and leave to simmer for at least half an hour.
Add the pearl barley and cook until soft. Add the cannellini beans and warm trough. Serve, garnished with the parsley and parmesan shavings.