Thursday, February 12, 2015

Caramelized Onion Pasta with Madeira


Here's a simple last minute suggestion if you're interested in a Valentine's Day dinner idea that will really wow your sweetie without having to break the piggy bank! You may even have everything you need in your pantry already.


When I first saw this recipe on Food 52 I knew I had to try it.  Being an avid fan of caramelized onion anything, I was on board!  All you need is 1.5 pounds of regular yellow onions, some pasta, Parmesan cheese and a little fortified wine such as Madeira, but dry Sherry would work.  I used Madeira that I found for $5.99 a bottle at the liquor store.  


The onions are first caramelized in butter for an hour.  No, that is not a typo - One Hour.  Low and slow in the key to delicious, jammy caramelized onions. James Beard's original recipe calls for TWO sticks of butter.  Food 52's version has 10 Tablespoons of butter.  I used 8 Tablespoons and I think you could even reduce that to 6 Tablespoons.  The onions in the photo above have already cooked for one hour.  The pan was almost full of onions when I started so you can see how much they soften.  


At the end of an hour, a splash of Madeira and a good dose of freshly grated Parmesan cheese and you have a swoon-worthy first course or side dish.  I served mine as a meatless meal with some braised kale but this would be scrumptious with almost any kind of meat, poultry or seafood.  


The first time I made it I used sweet onions and found the pasta tasted just a little too sweet with the Madeira.  The next time, I used regular yellow onions and reduced the amount of Madeira.  Just right!  I really had a hard time keeping my fork out of the pan while I was taking these photos!  It’s so delicious!

Caramelized Onion Pasta

Printable Recipe

Serves 4 to 6 (small first-course portions)

6-8 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 1/2 pounds regular yellow (not sweet) onions, halved and sliced 1/4-inch thick
1 tablespoon sugar
Salt
2 Tablespoons Madeira (original recipe calls for 1/4 cup), can also use dry sherry
3/4 pound hot cooked pasta (I used fettuccine but papparadelle is also recommended)
Sea salt, for serving (if needed)
Grated Parmesan, for serving
Note:  Save a little of the pasta cooking water in case the sauce needs a little more liquid.

Melt the butter in a large (12-inch) skillet over medium heat. Add the sliced onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until they are soft and translucent, being careful not to burn them.  Reduce the heat to low and stir in the sugar and a pinch of salt. Continue cooking the onions slowly for about 1 hour, stirring occasionally. They should be dark, caramelized and gooey. 

Add the Madeira to the onions and cook for a few more minutes, then add the cooked and drained pasta to the pan.  Add a few tablespoons of grated Parmesan, and toss the pasta with the sauce until mixed together. Add just a little pasta cooking water, if desired.

Serve with additional grated Parmesan and some sea salt, if needed.

51 comments:

  1. I'm a big fan of carmelized anything! This sounds great Susan.

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  2. Beautiful pasta dish. Happy Valentines Day!

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  3. I do have everything on hand and you had me at caramelized onions!!

    Best,
    Bonnie

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    1. That's how I felt when I first saw the recipe :) Thank you, Bonnie!

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  4. Susan, I make this same dish often, but also add fresh bread crumbs that have been toasted in a little butter. It is one of our favorite dishes with shrimp.

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    1. I love the idea of adding fresh bread crumbs. Next time! Thanks, Marigene!

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  5. Oh my , my husband and I will love trying this recipe! We both love caramelized onions and that pasta looks like a perfect match for it!

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  6. We are huge fans of caramelised onions! This is simple yet so great!

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    1. Low on ingredients but big on flavor. Thanks, Angie!

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  7. Nothing better than gooey onions:@) Perhaps the only thing to up the ante would be homemade pasta? I'd love this with a nice grilled steak-Happy Valentine's Day Weekend Susan:@)

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    1. It would taste wonderful with a grilled steak, Lynn! Thanks :)

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  8. An absolutely perfect meal for Valentines or any other special time. Simple is best sometimes. Happy Valentine's Day Susan.
    Sam

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  9. As I was eating a dish with them recently, I was thinking how much I liked caramelized onions, but I would never have thought to use them like this - I will now though. It sounds delicious Susan.

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    1. I hadn't thought of it before either, Larry! Hope you try it - it's great!

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  10. I am also a big fan of caramlized onions..and pasta..Cannot miss with this:)
    Your photos are always so appetizing!

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    1. Thank you, Monique! Aren't caramelized onions the best?!!

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  11. I'm a fan of caramelized onion anything also. What a great recipe. I've never cooked onions quite that long, simply because I'm not patient enough with all the aromas floating around. I think I've made it to 45 minutes. :) Thank you for this wonderful pasta idea. Pinned.

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    1. It's funny what you said because the original recipe says to have patience :) Thanks, Lea Ann!

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  12. I love caramelized onions! Simple pasta, but big in flavours! I love meals like this!
    Happy Valentine's Day!

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    1. It's amazing how many of us there are that love caramelized onions :) Thank you, Joyce!

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  13. Oh my word Susan - this is fantastic! The only thing I need is a good grind of pepper - heavenly!

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  14. Susan, this is some delicious looking pasta! Caramelized onions are the best and I never thought of combing them with pasta. Thanks for the recipe! Happy Valentine's Day!

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  15. Love pasta Susan and this look absolutely georgeous!!!
    xo

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  16. Susan, I love creamy, white pasta better than in a red sauce! We just call it white pasta for short in my family. Although we've never prepared it with caramelized onions (we use butter and olive oil only), I think that this has to be absolutely extraordinary. I love cooked onions! It's amazing how such simplicity can produce so much deliciousness! Have a great, yummy weekend! Roz

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  17. Fantastic!!!! I love pasta too! And love the idea of combining Caramelized onions with the pasta! Just Wonderful ;) HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY TO YOU TOO!!! <3

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  18. Let's join a caramelized onion club! Big fan too especially that in Lebanese dishes they are a must. Love the idea of the pasta with few ingredients and lots of flavor, you are such a gem Susan!

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  19. simple but full of flavor, I like this pasta dish Susan, have a wonderful Valentine's day my dear, warm hugs

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  20. I can't wait to try this. I just made onion soup and love caramelized onions. This is just a great idea and uses ingredients almost always on hand.

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  21. Whew....that's a lot of flavor packed into this dish. Looks yummy!

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  22. You had me at caramelized onions...swoon! :)

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  23. Wow, a full hour - I have to get going early! Glad to know that you can reduce the butter, but swoon - all of that butter sounds fabulous - no wonder you don't need many ingredients in this dish!

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  24. HI Susan, love dishes like this, simple ingredients and lots of love!

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  25. Oh yum, this sounds amazing! I know those onions must be fantastic. I love dishes with just a few quality ingredients!

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  26. You must know how much I love onions. And madeira? And butter? I am overwhelmed. This is a FABULOUS dish!

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  27. You must know how much I love onions. And madeira? And butter? I am overwhelmed. This is a FABULOUS dish!

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  28. This is a delicious pasta dish Susan! I wish i could dive my fork in it and eat it! I love Madeira wine and I cook with it very often!

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  29. Wow Susan, what a delicious pasta dish...and yes, I need to try to make caramelized onion...the idea of madeira, butter and caramelized onion just sound divine.
    Thanks for the recipe...enjoy your week :)

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  30. Genius recipe. I wonder if it was that on Food52? So simple, so just right. You have hit it out of the ball park with this. Will have to try soon.

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  31. Caramelized onion is heavenly delicious! Thanks for this recipe, looks so tasty!

    House cleaning Fulham

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  32. This simple pasta dish is a "must try" as my husband and I both love caramelized onions in anything.

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  33. I had to pin this before I was even finished reading the post --- this is right up my alley --- so simple and yet so delicious, thanks for the fabulous inspiration, I always have pasta and onions on hand!

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  34. Love dishes like this, Susan. So simple yet loaded with flavor. I make something with lemon and Parmesan, also one with fresh tomatoes (think this last was an Ina recipe.) We always have pasta in our pantry and then can make up the rest! Butter and cheese, if nothing else.

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  35. And now I'm craving ALL THE CARAMELIZED ONIONS. This sounds amazing!

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  36. This dish sounds so rustic and delicious. I would have a difficult time keeping my fork from the pan too!!!
    xoxo Catherine

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  37. This dish looks so delicious - it's calling my name! We love caramelized onions and with pasta ..... YUM!
    Beautifully done! Hope you are staying warm this week! CHeers!

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  38. WOW! Lovely pasta! Thanks so much for sharing this amazing recipe with us! Looks delicious! I'll definitely give your recipe a try!

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  39. I am a bit behind but glad I grabbed this before it flew away. What a magnificent dish. As you may know, I LOVE madeira and think it makes everything more delicious. Onions done in butter low and slow are a luxury food to be sure. I can't wait to make this!!!

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