1 cup pearl barley
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
1 pound crimini or mixed mushrooms, sliced
1 onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 bunch cavolo nero (also called black, Tuscan, dinosaur or lacinato kale), stemmed and shredded
Salt and pepper
A few grates of nutmeg
4 cups chicken or vegetable stock (32 ounces)
A handful of dried porcini or mixed wild mushrooms
Shaved Pecorino Romano cheese, for serving
Divide and conquer: Boil the barley separately while you move forward with the soup to get it all done in just under 30 minutes. Bring a medium size saucepan of water to a boil; add the barley and boil until just tender, 20-22 minutes. Drain and reserve.
Meanwhile, in a soup pot, heat the EVOO, four turns of the pan, over medium-high heat. Add the fresh mushrooms and cook until browned, then add the onion and garlic and cook until soft, 12-15 minutes total. Add the kale and cook to wilt; season with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Stir in the stock, a couple of cups water and the dried mushrooms; bring to a boil. Lower the heat to simmer and cook until the dried mushrooms are tender, 7-8 minutes. Stir in the reserved barley. Serve the soup in shallow bowls and top with the Pecorino Romano cheese.