Barley Soup with Caramelized Onions and Pecorino Cheese


Pecorino cheese sets off the sweetness of the onions. As the onions brown, you can assemble the stock. Serves 4 to 6.


  • 1/2 cup olive oil

  • 3 onions, cut into 1/2-inch chunks

  • 2 quarts basic vegetable

  • stock (described above)

  • 1/2 ounce dried porcini mushrooms (about 1/2 cup)

  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste

  • 1 tablespoon minced rosemary or 2 teaspoons dried

  • 1 cup pearl barley, rinsed

  • 1 cup diced celery or celery root

  • 2 carrots, diced

  • Salt and freshly milled pepper

  • 1/2 cup grated pecorino cheese


  1. Warm the oil in a heavy soup pot. Add the onions, cover, and cook over low heat for 40 minutes. Remove the lid, raise heat to medium, and cook, stirring often, until the onions are browned. Meanwhile, make the stock and include the dried porcini. When the stock is done, remove the porcini and chop.

  2. Add the tomato paste and rosemary and cook for a few minutes more, working the paste into the onions. Add the barley, vegetables, chopped porcini, and strained stock; bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer, partially covered, until the barley and vegetables are done, about 25 minutes. Season to taste. Top with grated cheese and serve.

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