Italian Regional Recipes Primi Piatti: Pasta, Rice, Soups

Chestnut and Barley Soup

Comfort food. This hearthy soup is just perfect for winter season. This ancient soup comes from the Aosta Valley, a region in the North of Italy and as well as the smallest one.

Serves: 2 | Preparation: 20 mins | Cooking : 80 mins

  • Pearl Barley: 100 g
  • Vegetable broth: 1 l
  • Chestnut: 10
  • Potato: 1
  • Onion: 1
  • Bay leaf: 1
  • Peeled Garlic Clove: 1
  • Rosemary: 1 sprig
  • Butter, unsalted: 20 g
  • Nutmeg: ½ tsp
  • Extra virgin olive oil (EVOO): 1 tbsp
  • Salt and pepper: to taste


Prepare the vegetable broth. Keep the broth warm in order to cook the barley.

Dice the potato.

Rinse the barley under running water, then dry it with a kitchen cloth.

Cut an X in the flat side of chestnuts and boil in water for about 30 minutes. Drain and peel when they’re cool enough to handle. Mince them and keep some whole to garnish the dish at the end.

Mince finely the onion, brown it in a frying-pan along with the butter and 1 tablespoon of olive oil with garlic, rosemary and bay leaf. Add the barley and toast it a bit, then add a few ladles of warm broth. As soon as the barley absorbs the liquid, add more broth – just as to prepare a risotto. Season to taste and stir.

Add the dice potato and minced chestnuts to the barley, a pinch of nutmeg, stir, cover with a lid.

Tip: Add more hot broth if the soup is too thick.

Cook over a low heat for about 25-30 minutes, turn off the heat, remove rosemary, garlic and bay leaf.

Serve your soup warm, add a drizzle of olive oil and some whole chestnuts.

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (5 votes, average: 4.80 out of 5)


  1. I cannot wait to try this Fiorenza. I happen to have two jars of cooked chestnuts I was planning to use to make some chocolate/chestnut cookies but I think this is what I will use them for. I live alone so am always glad to make soups/stews that will feed me more than once, freezing in individual batches with great success.

    I don’t know if I will be able to find these cooked chestnuts again as I have not seen them in my supermarket in the past months. That said Amazon has become my friend and I did see them there so I am a happy camper knowing I will always be able to have a supply.

    I do not know how to convert grams to ounces/pounds/cups, etc. so will wing it.

    Again, sincere thanks for sharing recipes, some very familiar to me and others, as this one, new and exciting. At age 82 I am still very eager to learn.

    1. Dear Anna,
      what a great energy, your comment and enthusiasm make me very happy!
      I’m not a camper, but I think this dish is perfect for the occasion as well as being very healthy.

      100 g corresponds to approximately 3.5 oz, about 1 cup

      Keep me posted and thanks again for appreciation of my recipes!

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