Thursday, January 16, 2020

Buttery Pappardelle in Caramelized Onion Sauce

This is a sponsored post. While I was compensated financially, all opinions are my own. 

I don’t know about you, but I’m in full-on hibernation mode. Every day I thank my lucky stars that I’m writing my second cookbook (!!!) and don’t have to venture out of my house too much. This is especially welcome when the *Feels Like temperature is -40C in Saskatoon. Oh my stars, let me tell you, that is COLD. And when it’s this cold I want to fill my belly with delicious comfort food that is simple, budget friendly (it is January after all) and delicious. This recipe for buttery noodles swaddled in the most delicious caramelized onion sauce checked all those boxes. I just finished the last bit for lunch today and I already can’t wait to make it again!

Spanish Sweet Onions are a staple in my pantry. They are a must-have ingredient to all savoury cooking, and frankly, I can’t imagine any of the recipes in my next cookbook without them! They make any meal better as they complement, rather than overwhelm a recipe. I especially love the Spanish Sweet Onions grown in the Snake River Valley in Idaho and Eastern Oregon. They are a popular onion in Canada, available from October to Mid-March, and I bet if you go grocery shopping today, you’ll likely be putting some in your cart. The Idaho-Eastern Oregon Spanish Sweets contain more sugar and less water than other onions, which makes them ideal for caramelizing, sautéing, and grilling. Idaho-Eastern Oregon Onion growers plant yellow, red, and white varieties: yellow onions are best for cooking; reds are ideal for salads and white onions are usually served diced and uncooked. For this glorious pasta recipe, I went with a few yellow Spanish Sweet Onions as I wanted a deep caramelization to take place. 

Like many of you, some days I don’t know what to cook, that’s why having a well-stocked pantry is key. This recipe relies on just a few ingredients, so if you are snowbound, or averse to the frigid temps like me, you don’t have to go to the store to get dinner on the table. Spanish Sweet Onions are cooked down in a pile of butter (oh yes I did) until they are deep, golden brown, almost jammy. This takes about an hour, but that time is largely hands-off. Just give them a stir once in awhile as you walk by the stove. Add a splash of white wine near the end. I’m one of those people that never seems to finish a bottle, so I always have a few glugs left in the fridge. If you have no problem polishing off a bottle, then just use a white wine you like to drink, preferably on the sweeter side, like a Riesling. No wine? Then use some chicken stock and a splash or two of balsamic vinegar, but know the taste will be different. The type of noodle is key. I love the wide pappardelle noodle. Made with eggs, this ribbon-like pasta is a perfect companion for the caramelized onion sauce. No pappardelle? Use fettuccine or tagliatelle. 
Be sure to serve with generous handfuls of freshly grated Parmesan and a good amount of black pepper. I used fresh thyme leaves in the sauce but a little dried would be okay too. If you don’t want to leave the house to get fresh herbs, I totally understand! 

You can eat a bowl of this pasta as is, or serve it on the side with roasted chicken, fish or pork. Eating something green and vegetable in nature is also not a bad idea. It’s pure, simple comfort food. Just what January ordered. 

For more recipes and information about Idaho-Eastern Oregon Spanish Sweet Onions, go to 

Buttery Pappardelle in Caramelized Onion Sauce

1/2 cup unsalted butter
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 3/4 pounds Idaho-Eastern Oregon Spanish Sweet Onions, halved and sliced ¼-inch thick
1 Tbsp granulated sugar
generous pinch of salt
1/2 cup white wine (semi-sweet)
350 grams hot, cooked pasta such as pappardelle
1 tsp fresh thyme leaves or 1/2 tsp dry thyme leaves
pinch hot pepper flakes
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
salt and pepper

1. In a large 12-inch skillet, warm the butter and olive oil over medium heat. Add the sliced onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until they are soft and translucent. 
2. Stir in the sugar and salt. Turn the heat to low and cook the onions slowly for about 1 hour until they are deeply caramelized and almost jammy. Be sure to stir once in a while so as they don’t burn. 
3. When you are happy with the colour of the onions, stir in the wine, and cook for a few minutes, stirring up any of the brown bits on the bottom of the skillet. Add the thyme leaves and red pepper flakes. Stir in the hot, cooked pasta, and about 1/2 cup of reserved pasta water. Add the Parmesan and season to taste with salt and pepper. 
4. Divide the pasta into four bowls and serve with more grated Parmesan. 

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