Caramelized Onion Pasta

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4.6 from 5 reviews

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!


  • 6 medium-sized yellow onions, sliced thin
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 8 ounces penne pasta
  • 23 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


  1. 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).
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.