In a large stock pot, combine the beans, vegetables, herbs, garlic, and 1 quart water. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook, covered, over very low heat for 1 hour.
Meanwhile, rinse the barley and place in a large saute pan with the pancetta, and pepper to taste. Cover with 1 quart of water and bring to a boil. Add the barley to the bean soup and cook for 1 more hour, until the barley is very tender.
Taste the soup and adjust the seasoning with salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste. Drizzle individual portions with olive oil.
Recipe copyright 2001, Mario Batali. All Rights Reserved.