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Pappardelle with Caramelized Onions and Parmesan


Onions, the king of pantry staples, reign supreme in this dish: They're slowly caramelized, then tossed with pasta and Parmesan.

  • Prep:
  • Total Time:
  • Servings: 4

Source: Everyday Food, December 2008


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 medium onions, halved and thinly sliced
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 1 package (8.8 ounces) pappardelle pasta or 8 ounces fettuccine
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 ounces Parmesan, shaved with a vegetable peeler


  1. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium. Add onions and thyme; season with salt and pepper. Cover, and cook, without stirring, until onions have released their liquid, about 5 minutes. Uncover, and cook, stirring occasionally, until deep golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes more. When bottom of skillet darkens, add a few tablespoons water, and scrape up browned bits with a wooden spoon (you may need to do this 2 or 3 times).

  2. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. When onions have about 10 minutes left to cook, add pasta to water in pot, and cook until al dente. Reserve 1/2 cup pasta water; drain pasta, and return to pot.

  3. Add onions and butter to pasta in pot; season with salt and pepper, and toss to combine. Gradually add enough pasta water to create a thin sauce that coats pasta. Serve pasta topped with Parmesan.

Cook's Notes

The secret to this pasta is cooking the onions until they're a deep golden brown; to keep them intact, stir only occasionally. Pappardelle, like other egg-based noodles, cook very quickly (even when sold dried). We like this pasta with butter-and-cheese sauces, such as this one.

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