1/2 - 1 oz. dried shitake mushrooms
2 cups boiling water
3 T. extra-virgin olive oil
3/4 lb. bulk white or brown mushrooms, trimmed and quartered (cut into sixths if very large)
1 onion, chopped
1/2 tsp. dried minced garlic
1/2 tsp. thyme
1 1/2 cups pearl barley, rinsed
1 cup white wine (or vegetable broth, if you don't cook with wine)
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
3 T. freshly minced parsley leaves
1 T. unsalted butter
salt and pepper to taste
1. Place dried mushrooms in bowl and cover with boiling water. Allow to sit until softened,about 20 minutes. With a fork, transfer mushrooms to cutting board. DO NOT discard mushroom broth!
2. Finely chop mushrooms. Pour the mushroom broth through a strainer lined with a paper towel and collect in small saucepan. Add 4 cups water, bring to a strong simmer, cover and remove from heat.
4. Heat the remaning oil in saucepan and add onion and 1/4 tsp. salt., reduce heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally, until onion softens. Stir in garlic, thyme and chopped shiitake mushrooms until fragrant. Then add barley and cook(stir constantly) for about 2 minutes until lightly toasted. Then add wine and cook, stirring often, until it evaporates, about 2-3 minutes.
6. Remove saucepan from heat and stir in cooked mushrooms, cheese, parsley, butter and salt/pepper to taste. Keep stirring until mushrooms are heated and butter melts.