Caramelized Onion Pasta: Savory Recipe

Caramelized Onion Pasta

There’s something about a bowl of pasta covered in savory caramelized onions that makes this dish irresistible. Add in some lemon juice to brighten things up, and you’ve got an incredibly easy, comforting dish.

Start by caramelizing the onions in a skillet, or large Dutch oven, with butter. Once they’ve reached a rich brown color, deglaze the pan with sherry and white wine.

Caramelize the Onions

Caramelized onions are the ultimate flavorful addition to a pasta dish. They take a little time to caramelize, so it’s best to make this recipe ahead of time so that you can enjoy them at their fullest.

The cooking process begins by melting butter in a large skillet over medium-low heat, then adding the onions and cooking them down until their natural sugars release and they turn a deep, golden brown color. The onions will also start to break down, which helps the sauce to develop more texture and depth of flavor.

Keep cooking and scraping the pan as you go to help prevent burning and produce more intensely flavorful onions. When sticky bits called fond begin to stick to the bottom of the pan, add a few tablespoons of water to loosen them and scrape them up with a metal spatula before deglazing as you go (this is also a great time to use red or white wine for extra flavor).

Be sure to keep an eye on the onions as they cook; once they start to soften and brown, stir them often to ensure even cooking. When you’ve gotten to the point where they are just tender and starting to break down, remove the pan from the heat.

If you want to speed up the caramelization process, try adding a teaspoon of granulated sugar to 3 pounds of onions, as this will encourage a faster cooking time. However, if you prefer to wait for the onions to naturally caramelize as they are, they’ll still have plenty of flavor without any added sweetener at all.

The caramelizing process is the result of complex chemical reactions that transform bitter onions into rich, sweet, savory flavors. This happens because heating causes a series of molecular reactions that allow water molecules to dehydrate and separate from the sugars. These dehydrated sugars then form a new molecule, which eventually becomes sweet tasting disulfides and trisulfides.

You can use the caramelized onions in a variety of recipes, from French onion soup to sandwich toppings to pizza. You can even freeze them and serve them as a quick savory snack.

Cook the Pasta

Caramelized Onion Pasta is a perfect recipe for any fall or winter meal, as it’s so comforting and savory. It also uses pantry staples (like pasta) that most people have in their kitchen, so it’s a great recipe to make when you need something fast and easy.

Once the onions have caramelized, it’s time to turn them into a pasta sauce. This is a simple, straightforward sauce that’s made with a mix of olive oil and butter. The butter helps prevent the onions from burning while also adding flavor. The mixture of butter and oil is important for getting that deep, nutty caramelized flavor we love.

The caramelized onions are tossed with cooked pasta, a little bit of butter + starchy pasta water to help create a silky, creamy sauce. Then, the whole thing is topped with plenty of parmesan cheese and fresh herbs.

In the last few minutes of cooking, add the roasted garlic to the onions. Smush the cloves into the onions with a wooden spoon to release some of their flavors.

Serve the Pasta

After you’ve finished cooking your pasta, save a little of the cooking water so that you can thin out the pasta and cheese mixture with it. This will help to make the pasta more of a sauce than a soup.

Toss the cooked pasta with the onions and reserved pasta water to coat evenly, then pour the sauce over the pasta and stir to combine. You may need to add a bit more pasta water if the pasta seems dry or doesn’t absorb enough of the liquid from the sauce.

The final step is to add the cheese and stir it into the mixture. You can use any kind of cheese you’d like for this dish, but I recommend a thick cut shredded cheddar. It will melt quickly and meld with the other ingredients in this dish, providing you with a rich cheesy sauce that’s perfectly complementing to the sweetness of the caramelized onions.

The sweetness of the onions is the key to this dish. It’s a great balance with the meaty flavor of sausage & a light vinaigrette. You can serve it with a green salad for added freshness or a crusty loaf of bread to soak up the extra sauce.

If you want a heartier version of this recipe, you can add cooked or canned cannellini beans at the end. And if you want to make it even more indulgent, you can top your bowl of pasta with toasted pine nuts or freshly chopped flat-leaf parsley for some additional texture and flavor.

To add a bit of heat to this dish, try using anchovies instead of capers. To do this, simply mash them into a paste with the flat side of your knife. Once you’ve created a paste, stir it into the caramelized onions to mix and cook for another minute or so.


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