french onion soup pasta

It's been awhile since we've had a real deal Wine Night recipe up on The Rose Record. And boy do I have the recipe for a comeback. A few weeks ago it was finally starting to feel like fall. A little bite in the air. Just a hint of that dead leaf smell (love that smell btw). I wanted something comforting and fall-ish for dinner. But I also was ready for my weekly dose of pasta.

And then in this clever brain of mine I envisioned a bowl of French onion soup running smack into a box of penne pasta (my brain frequently operates in cartoon-mode). I took the beginning method of cooking french onion soup and added pasta at the end, topped it all with cheese per tradition, broiled it, and then immediately devoured it. You know you've made a good dish when you can barely stand to spend a few minutes photographing the finished project because you must. eat. it. now.

This is a great one for a Sunday supper or a weeknight when you have a bit more time. Caramelizing onions can take some time and cannot be rushed so don't try to cram this entire recipe into half an hour. We liked it for Wine Night because as the onions did their thing we opened a bottle of wine, chatted about the upcoming weekend, and played fetch with the worlds best french bull dog. Moral of the story - enjoy the process with this one. The slower pace and hearty outcome are just what this season is all about. 

French Onion Soup Pasta
Serves 6

  • 3 medium-sized yellow onions, sliced thin
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • leaves from two sprigs of thyme (about 2 teaspoons)
  • 2 cups unsalted stock (chicken, beef, or vegetable - whatever you have on hand)
  • 16 oz. short cut pasta (I used mostaccoli because in the freak world that is NYC grocery stores, I couldn't find penne)
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 cups grated gruyere cheese (or any Swiss cheese is fine)
  • 1/4 cup reserved pasta water (you may not need this)

1.   Set a Dutch oven to medium heat and add the oil and butter. 

2.   Once the butter is melted add all the onions (it looks like a lot but they will cook down – trust me).

3.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper, throw in the thyme and stir. Let simmer for a total of 40 minutes. Stir them every five minutes or so. Don’t stir too much; you want them to get that good caramelization from the heat of the pan. They’ll be ready when they’re golden brown and taste sweet. 

4.  Meanwhile, while the onions are cooking, bring a pot of water to boil. Once boiling, salt the water and add the pasta. You want to cook the pasta a few minutes shy of al dente - it will still have a bite to it. (Don't worry; we'll finish cooking the pasta in the onion broth because that is the juice of the Gods).

5.  Once your onions are brown, add the garlic and thyme and allow to cook a few minutes until fragrant.

6.  Once your garlic is softened, add the stock to the pan and use a wooden spoon to scrape up the brown bits from the bottom. (This is a process called deglazing. Deglazing is fun!) Turn the heat up to medium high and bring to a boil. 

7.   Once the onions and stock are boiling, add the pasta. Stir to combine and cover with a lid. Cook five minutes until pasta is al dente.

8.  Once pasta is cooked through, stir in half of the cheese and season with salt and pepper. If the pasta doesn't seem 'saucy' enough, add in some of the reserved pasta water. Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top and pop the whole thing under the broiler for five minutes.  Or you can spoon the pasta and onion mixture into individual bowls or gratin dishes and top with cheese and then broil (just make sure your bowls are oven safe). 

Nutrition: (per serving)
  • Calories:  520
  • Carbs:  63
  • Fat:  22
  • Protein:  21

^^ P.S. This is what caramelized onions look like and that brown stuff on the side of the pan is all the flavor that you get after deglazing. To some this picture is awful. To those of us who know the power of onions, this is a masterpiece.

Bon appétit

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