La sfarrata

Jill Dupleix
La sfarrata - a thick and golden winter soup served with chilli oil.
La sfarrata - a thick and golden winter soup served with chilli oil. Photo: Marina Oliphant

In Abruzzo, this thick, hearty soup is made from scratch using dried spelt and legumes. Using canned beans and chickpeas is sacrilegious but a lot faster.


3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 onion, finely chopped

2 celery stalks, chopped

2 garlic cloves, finely sliced

75g lentils

75g pearled barley

400g canned tomatoes, drained and chopped

1 litre chicken or veg stock (vegetable stock for vegetarians)

400g canned white beans

400g canned chickpeas

sea salt and ground pepper

To serve

4 rosemary sprigs

2 tbsp freshly grated parmesan

1 tsp cracked black pepper

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil or chilli oil (see tip)


In a heavy pan, heat the oil and lightly cook the onion, celery and garlic until softened. Add the lentils, barley, tomatoes and stock and bring to the boil. Simmer gently for 30 minutes until lentils and barley are tender. Add the beans and chickpeas, season well and simmer for 20 minutes.

Serve in pasta bowls with rosemary, parmesan, black pepper and a drizzle of olive or chilli oil.

Tip: To make chilli oil, crack open 1 tbsp small dried chillies with a rolling pin. Heat them gently in 100ml olive oil. When cold, add sea salt and black pepper and store in a sterilised bottle for a week before using.