Onions cooked until they’re soft, golden, and sweet are tossed with pasta in a simple white wine butter sauce. This caramelized onion pasta is sort of like french onion soup but served up pasta-style.
Caramelized Onion Pasta
I had a plan this week and, like all best-laid plans, it changed leaving me with a bunch of onions on my countertop.
It’s a long story.
So I asked myself, “What would happen if a box of pasta had a love child with french onion soup?”
Something very good, I suspected.
Want to give it a try?
It all starts with caramelized onions, so grab a big pan, a couple glugs of olive oil, and some patience.
Caramelized onions take some time, but it’s worth it!
The best part is adding white wine to the caramelized onion. It bubbles up and makes it easy to scrape up all the browned bits that are stuck to the bottom of the pan. From there, add some dried oregano, vegetable stock, and some butter. Add some cooked pasta and what do you get? A comforting pasta with sweet caramelized onions all coated in a buttery white wine sauce.
Serve it with some toasted bread and salad and suddenly you have a supper that’s totally guest-worthy.
Or, if you’re like me, grab a fork in one hand and a glass of wine in the other and enjoy it straight from the pan – I won’t judge, I promise.
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Caramelized Onion Pasta
French onion soup meets pasta in this rich and savory dish. The onions are slow-cooked over low heat until they brown and their natural sweetness emerges. A little white wine, vegetable stock, and butter are added to create a simple sauce that coats the pasta. Serve it up with some toasted bread and salad on the side – it’s delicious!
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
- Total Time: 1 hour 45 minutes
- Yield: 4 1x
- Category: Dinner
- Cuisine: American
- 6 medium-sized yellow onions, sliced thin
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 8 ounces penne pasta
- 2–3 tablespoons dry white wine
- 1/2 cup vegetable stock
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, for serving
- Coat the bottom of a large pan with the olive oil. Add the sliced onions and turn the heat to low. Cook the onions until they are softened and browned all over, stirring them every once in while (see notes for more details about caramelizing onions).
- While the onions are cooking bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook the pasta according to package directions. Reserve a quarter cup of the starchy pasta water before draining the pasta.
- When the onions have caramelized, turn the heat up to medium and add the white wine to the pan. Scrape up all the browned bits off the bottom of the pan and then add in the vegetable stock and oregano. Stir everything together and bring to a simmer. Let the sauce reduce for a few minutes (it shouldn’t be saucy – you want just enough liquid to coat the bottom of the pan). Add the butter to the pan and stir it around so it melts and coats the onions. Add the cooked pasta and toss everything together until the pasta is coated in the sauce. If, needed, add some of the starchy pasta water to thin the sauce.
- Top each serving with some grated Parmesan cheese and chopped parsley.
Caramelizing onions takes time – there’s just no way around it. For this recipe, it’s important to caramelize the onions on the stove top because browned bits will stick to the bottom of the pan which adds amazing flavor to the sauce. Depending on the size of your pan (mine holds 4.9 liters) the cooking time will vary. Be sure to cook them over low heat – it will seem like nothing is happening for a long time (the onions won’t start to brown until they release most of their moisture) and then they will suddenly start to brown. It’s best to let them be and only stir them periodically. As they start to brown you can increase the stirring to ensure they cook and brown evenly. You know they’re done when they are softened and they’ve turned a nice golden brown.
- Calories: 522
- Sugar: 7.3g
- Sodium: 616mg
- Fat: 29.6g
- Carbohydrates: 50.6g
- Fiber: 2.4g
- Protein: 9.8g
Keywords: caramelized onion pasta
Amanda T says
This tasted good, but there is no way to caramelize this many onions in one pan in this period of time, so it was pretty misleading. I enjoyed, but would have to plan further ahead to make it again.
April Anderson says
I’m glad you liked it, but I’m curious what size/type of pan you used to caramelize the onions? It’s hard to say why it took longer than an hour and a half – I don’t think I was misleading since I mention in the recipe card that the cooking time varies 🙂
I’m totally making this Saturday night dinner. For some reason tossing in some roasted pear slices and blue cheese sounds like a good idea. Am I nuts?
Hi! I think i missed when to add the starch water? Usually at the end (of most pasta dishes) but i didn’t see it in your directions? Btw, heck yea! It looks amazing ,sounds amazing. Love onions.
Thanks for pointing that out! I updated the recipe –
I just made this and it was delicious! I didn’t have any parsley on hand so I sprinkled some toasted pine nuts on it instead. My husband and I both really enjoyed this pasta and it was easy to make.
Oh, I love that you added pine nuts – sounds great!
Claire | Sprinkles and Sprouts says
Oh my goodness….this has my name written all over it!!!
It is 1 am here and I am sat wondering if it is too late to start cooking!!!
Pinning this YUM!!!!!
Never too late! 🙂
I had leftover rib eye steak and added it to this delightful dish for a very good meal!
I love that idea, Tami! So glad you enjoyed it – thanks for letting me know 🙂
Kelley @ Chef Savvy says
What a genius idea! This sounds like heaven. I could eat caramelized onions by themselves! Can’t wait to make this April!
This pasta looks amazing!!! Caramelized onions are the best!
suzi anderson says
Made this last night and it was just delicious! Love, love french onion soup and this was just another great way to enjoy the flavors. Only one problem…my plate isn’t nearly as attractive as your photos!
Thanks, Mom! I thought about you when I made it – I know how much you love french onion soup 🙂 So glad you liked it!