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Caramelized Onion Pasta

Caramelized Onion Pasta

A few of y’all requested a written recipe when I posted this Caramelized Onion Pasta, so here it is! It’s very simple, and very delicious. Of course, this is coming from a big onion lover, so I’m biased. A note before we dive into the recipe tho:

In the photo below, you’ll notice the pasta has a darker hue. This is because I caramelized the onions uncovered over medium heat, and broke them down more quickly than I did for the other batch depicted in the other pictures. They ended up more grilled than caramelized. The taste was fairly similar, with the covered caramelized onion batch being sweeter.

Caramelized Onion Pasta

Caramelized Onion Pasta Ingredients

Feel free to jump to the full recipe, but here are useful notes about the ingredients you will need to make this Caramelized Onion Pasta recipe:

  • Sweet onions: The star of this recipe. Use sweet onions – I generally opt for vidalia onions – or yellow onions. I do not recommend white or red, but it’s your kitchen, not mine!
  • Penne pasta: I like this Caramelized Onion Pasta with short noodles, but any shape or length will do, obviously. I think my choice of long noodles would be linguine.
  • Pasta water, heavy cream: The sauce is mostly composed of pasta water. Heavy cream adds a lovely velvety mouthfeel, and can be omitted.
  • Low-moisture mozzarella: I wanted a very mild, melty cheese. Stronger options that would affect the overall flavor of the Caramelized Onion Pasta are gruyere and aged parmesan.
  • Kosher salt, ground white pepper, dried oregano, cracked black pepper, onion powder: Our seasonings. I wanted the caramelized onions to be the standout flavor, so these just round it out a bit. I like to add onion powder at the end to make the sharp, pungent onion flavor pop out, as caramelizing brings out the sweetness.
Caramelized Onion Pasta

How to Make Caramelized Onion Pasta

Full instructions are included in the recipe below, but here is a basic overview of what you’ll need to do, along with some important tidbits to help you make the most of this Caramelized Onion Pasta recipe:

  • Caramelize the Onions. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-low and add the sliced onions. Sprinkle with a generous pinch of Kosher salt and stir to coat the onion slices in oil. Cover with a lid and cook for an hour, stirring every 15 minutes or so, until the onions are very soft. Remove the lid and continue cooking uncovered for another half hour, or so, until the onions are golden brown.
  • Boil the noodles. When the onions are almost finished, start on the pasta. Cook according to package directions in at least 6 cups of heavily salted water. Use a spider strainer or slotted spoon to transfer the cooked pasta from the water – letting the excess drip off – to the pan with the caramelized onions. Once all the pasta is in the pan, add the mozzarella, heavy cream, ground white pepper, oregano, and one cup of pasta water. Stir together until the cheese begins to melt, and the spices are evenly distributed.
  • Complete the Caramelized Onion Pasta. Stir in another cup of pasta water and the onion powder until well combined. Give it a taste, and adjust the spices as needed. The pasta is ready to eat, BUT if you’d like more sauce, keep on adding pasta water. I generally use about 4 cups. Adapt to your own personal preferences. Dassit! 

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Caramelized Onion Pasta


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  • Author: María
  • Total Time: 2 hours 15 minutes
  • Yield: 8 servings 1x

Description

Onions. Pasta. A few other things.


Ingredients

Units Scale
  • 2 lbs sweet onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 lb penne pasta
  • 4 C reserved pasta water, as needed
  • 1/2 C (4 oz) low-moisture mozzarella, shredded
  • 1/2 C heavy cream
  • 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt, to taste
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp ground white pepper
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/4 tsp cracked black pepper


Instructions

  1. Begin by caramelizing the onions: Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-low and add the sliced onions. Sprinkle with a generous pinch of Kosher salt and stir to coat the onion slices in oil. Cover with a lid and cook for an hour, stirring every 15 minutes or so, until the onions are very soft. Remove the lid and continue cooking uncovered for another half hour or so, until the onions are golden brown.
  2. When the onions are almost finished, start on the pasta. Cook according to package directions in at least 6 cups of heavily salted water.
  3. Use a spider strainer or slotted spoon to transfer the cooked pasta from the water – letting the excess drip off – to the pan with the caramelized onions. Once all the pasta is in the pan, add the mozzarella, heavy cream, ground white pepper, oregano, and one cup of pasta water. Stir together until the cheese begins to melt and the spices are evenly distributed.
  4. Stir in another cup of pasta water and the onion powder until well combined. Give it a taste, and adjust the spices as needed. The pasta is ready to eat BUT if you’d like more sauce, keep on adding pasta water. I generally use about 4 cups. Adapt to your own personal preferences. Dassit!
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 2 hours
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