Soothing Italian Soup Recipes

A couple of authentic Italian soup recipes from regional traditions.

Italian barley soup

This barley soup recipe comes from the Alto Adige region in Italy’s mountainous north.

It is a thick, nourishing and warming winter soup. Serve with crusty bread.

Ingredients for 6-8:

225 g, of pearl barley, preferably organic

2 litres of meat broth or water, or a combination of both

3 tablespoons of olive oil

2 carrots, finely chopped

1 large onion, finely chopped

2 sticks celery, finely chopped

1 leek, thinly sliced

1 large potato, finely chopped

115 g. of diced ham

1 bay leaf

3 tablespoons of chopped fresh parsley

1 small spring fresh rosemary

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Freshly grated Parmesan cheese to serve (optional)


Pick over the barley, and discard any stones or other particles. Wash it in cold water. Put the barley to soak in cold water for at least 3 hours.

Drain the barley and place in a large saucepan with the stock or water. Bring to a boil, lower the heat and simmer for 1 hour. Skim off any scum.

Stir in the oil, all the vegetables and the ham. Add the herbs. If necessary add more water.

The ingredients should be covered by at least 2.5 cm /1 inch. Simmer for about 1-1½ hours, or until the vegetables and barley are very tender.

Taste for seasoning, adding salt and pepper as necessary. Serve hot with grated Parmesan, if desired.

An excellent vegetarian version of this soup can be made by using vegetable broth instead of beef broth, and omitting the ham. This soup comes from the Alto Adige region in Italy’s mountainous north. It is a thick, nourishing and warming winter soup.

Italian broccoli soup

This broccoli soup recipe is a soothing traditional dish from Rome.

Around Rome broccoli grows abundantly and are served in this soup with garlic toasts.

Ingredients for 6:

675 g. of broccoli spears

1.75 litres of chicken or vegetable broth

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice

To serve:

6 slices with bread

1 large clove garlic, cut in half

Freshly grated Parmesan cheese (optional)


Using a small sharp knife, peel the broccoli stems, starting from the base of the stalks and pulling gently up towards the florets. The peel comes off very easily. Chop the broccoli into small chunks.

Bring the stock to the boil in a large pan. Add the broccoli and simmer for 30 minutes, or until soft.

Purée about half of the soup and mix into the rest of the soup. Season with salt, pepper and lemon juice.

Just before serving , reheat the soup to just below boiling point. Toast the bread, rub with garlic and cut into quarters. Place 3 or 4 pieces of toast in the bottom of each soup plate. Ladle on the soup. Serve immediately and with Parmesan if you wish so.

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