Thursday, March 20, 2014

Perfect Italian Soup | Friday Night Bites

Growing up there was a special family style restaurant called Bancheros.  It was completely old school Italian but we loved going there as kids.  Often my parents would call ahead and pick up dinner to enjoy at home.  My absolute favorite item on the menu was their soup.  It was nothing fancy but the flavors were just supreme. Several years ago I learned that they closed their doors and it was like a really good friend who moved away or worse passed on.  I would never be able to enjoy that special soup. 

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About a year ago, a co-worker and I got to chatting one day and I learned that her husband’s family also enjoyed Bancheros.  She also let me know that she had the recipe for the soup.  My mouth almost fell to the floor.  I was incredibly excited.  After many trials and tribulations, she perfected the proportions.  Once she gave me the recipe, I gave it a whirl.  I changed some of the proportions and added the missing ingredient – garlic powder.  The end result was pure perfection.

Over the holidays, I wanted to surprise my family by whipping up a batch of this delicious and satisfying soup.  I just let them know that I was bringing a divine soup and that was it.  Once they all tasted it, they were transported back to the days of Bancheros soup and were dying to get the recipe.  It has taken me a bit of time to get around to making it again, so I could share with all of you.  I know it is the first day of spring, but I felt like some soup for this weeks Friday Night Bites - something warm and comforting.  It went perfect with homemade garlic bread and a rich bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon.

Perfect Italian Soup

8 Cups Chicken Stock
1 Potato (peeled and cut into very small cubes)
2 Carrots, peeled and small dice
2 Celery Stalks, small dice
½ Cup Pearl Barley
½ Cup Pastina Pasta
½ teaspoon Garlic Powder
½ Cup Tomato Sauce
Salt and Pepper to taste
Parmesan Cheese for garnish when serving

In a large stock pot, bring the chicken stock to a boil and add the vegetables, barley, Pastina and garlic powder.  Let cook on medium for about 30 minutes, and then add the tomato sauce and salt and pepper.  Let simmer for another 30 minutes.  Serve with parmesan cheese and garlic bread.


  1. Lisa, this soup sounds delectable, and comforting. Congratulations on figuring out the alchemy behind a beloved childhood memory. :)

  2. This sounds wonderful Lisa and how fun that you could re-create family memories!

  3. I made this soup because it looked so good in your pic, and it did not disappoint

    1. So glad that you liked it! It was a childhood favorite and you reminded me that with Fall here, I need to make this again soon. :)

  4. Almost perfect, just add a tiny bit of olive oil.

    Now who knows how to make Bancheros garlic bread?

  5. I agree the garlic bread recipe is the holy grail

  6. The garlic bread is half garlic powder and half garlic salt cooked in melted butter then spread on the bread and cooked.
    The soup actually had some corned beef broth in it......go figure. My late husband used to work there!

    1. Thank you for the helpful tips! I miss that restaurant. Sorry to hear about your husband. Hope you are enjoying the holidays!

  7. Thank you so much for sharing! This recipe is the closest one I've found to their soup! :-)

  8. Yay so excited to try this recipe. I am so sad Bancheros closed their doors. I have fond memories of this place, as the soup was the only thing I would eat for a while as a kid, thankfully we lived within walking distance. Thank you for sharing.

  9. Waiting to see if anyone know's how or as the recipe for thier Spaghetti Sauce, a 35 years loyal customer of Banchero's.

  10. Someone needs to ask John Banchero to do a cookbook with the favorite tried and true recipes in it. I know there are tons of us that would have no problem buying it. So many of us have so many wonderful family memories from there for well over 50 years. I don't know anyone who knows of Bancheros that didn't love their soup, garlic bread and spaghetti. How many of us did a to go order of soup and garlic bread on a cold rainy night?! So miss the pace!

  11. Laurie, if you ever hear of any such cookbook by John Bancheros, please contact me. I and my family will be in our glory. Have a great day. Sylvia & family


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