Top | Deborah Madison

Barley Soup with Caramelized Onions and Pecorino Cheese

(recipe, Deborah Madison)


  1. 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  2. 1 large onion, diced into ½-inch squares
  3. 1 qt. commercial mushroom stock or water
  4. 1 Tbsp. tomato paste
  5. 1 heaping teaspoon minced rosemary
  6. ½ cup barley, rinsed
  7. ½ cup diced celery root or celery
  8. 2 carrots, diced
  9. Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
  10. ½ cup grated or shaved pecorino cheese


  1. Warm the oil in a heavy soup pot. Add the onions, cover, and cook over low heat for 20 to 30 minutes until golden. The lid will create steam so that you don’t have to stir the onions constantly, but do check them a few times as they cook.
  2. Add the tomato paste and rosemary and cook for a minute more, working the paste into the onions. Add the vegetables, barley, and stock, and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer, partially covered, until the barley and vegetables are done, about 25 minutes. Taste for salt, season with freshly ground pepper, and serve with cheese grated over the top.