This was way too much effort with not much reward. I should have really thought about all the ingredients--none of them add any real seasoning to the mix and even with added Kosher Salt and Season Salt (my go to seasonings), it wasn't very good. The pesto did add to the flavor but it took too long to be worth another try.
This soup has great bones, but some flaws that are easily fixed: 1) Use about 1/4 amount of the bacon (it's so overpowering), or perhaps use pancetta rather than American bacon. 2) Go heavier on the vegetables and especially with the barley. I also added some additional chard leaves to the soup. Will definitely make it again, and will continue to make adjustments until it's perfect!
I really enjoyed this soup except I did not care for the pesto at all......I will skip that step next time. Also I do not care for butternut squash so I substituted for yellow squash.
Thought had great flavor. Modifications: Cooked chicken breast in the oven and diced and added to the soup at the end. Used 4 cups of chicken broth and 3 of water to make the base of the soup. Simmered the barley and veggies in the chicken broth and added the swiss chard leaves for the last 5-10 minutes. Omitted mushrooms but used zucchini instead. Would make again.
I agree with the previous review--while the pesto was delicious, the bland soup was certainly not worth the effort. I added dried sage and much more salt and pepper to give the soup any flavor. However, I will make the pesto again as it was fantastic on crostini. I used red swiss chard to make the pesto because it's what I had on hand, and the result was a beautiful pink spread.
Soup was good but not worth the time. The pesto however, was very good. I used it the next day on top of fresh sliced tomatoes with a slice of mozzarella on top. Add a little olive oil and a dash of fresh ground pepper, yum! My hubby loved it.