Hi Vegetarian Carnivores! Pasta is such a staple and simple food to make, but that does NOT mean that it can’t be fancy once in a while. The other day I put on my fancy pants and embarked on a quest to make a pasta that would be fit to serve at a fancy restaurant, with a glass of the finest Cabernet please 😉 I made this for a special occasion so I wanted to go all out! And all out, I went! But I digress. Let’s make my fancy pants caramelized onion pasta, complete with a red wine reduction. So we can dine in style here in quarantine.
A lot of people think that caramelizing onions means you can crank up the heat to max and help it get done faster. I was one of these people. But a few botched recipes later, complete with blistered onion skins (yikes) and some oil splatter burns (ouchie) later, I have realized that this one just requires patience. Which is something I have not very much of.
There really is no way of getting around this. So I had to buck up and be a big girl about it and wait it out. If I want a fancy pasta, then I am going to wait out the 20 minutes it takes to properly caramelize onions.
The best way to caramelize onions is over medium-low heat. Letting it sit for a couple minutes at a time to brown, and then moving the onions around and flipping over the strands. Rest and repeat until the onions are all a lovely dark brown. This takes around 20 minutes.
Be patient, unlike I used to be, and wait it out. It is so worth it!
Red Wine Reduction
If you thought that the caramelized onions were a fancy touch, then be prepared to layer on the jazz. A red wine reduction further infuses the onions with a deep and all around comforting flavor that takes the recipe to the next level! You don’t need a ton of it- Just 1/3 cup of basically any drinking quality red wine will do. I used a Cabernet because that is what I had, but feel free to use Zinfandel or Merlot or or Pinot some red blend instead. Again, during quarantine, it’s all about what you can easily get your hands on!
Most of us make pasta by boiling the pasta and then throwing sauce on it. That is fine, but one of my biggest grievances is that when we do that, the sauce tends to “slide off” the pasta.
The whole point of making saucy pasta is to have it combine as one, not to taste them separately.
So what I did for this recipe is I cooked the pasta 3/4 of the way it was written on the box instructions and then continued cooking it to completion in the sauce. This way, the sauce infused into the pasta so the sauce really held onto the pasta pieces.
It is such a simple hack, but makes a world of difference when you finally bite into your creation!
So without further ado, let’s get started!
- 1 box fusili, or any short pasta, cooked according to box instructions
- 1 white onion, julienned (cut into long strands)
- 2 tbsp oil, for sauteing
- 1/3 cup red wine
- 3 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 cup reserved pasta water
- Parsley, to garnish
- Vegan Parmesan, to garnish
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- In a large saucepan, heat oil and begin sauteing onions on medium-low heat. Continue for around 20 minutes or until your onions have reduced in size and are a dark brown color.
- Add the red wine. The sizzle is normal and desired. Mix well quickly so that all the onions get some wine. The onions will become even darker.
- Add in tomato paste and mix well.
- Add salt and pepper, to taste.
- Add in 3/4 cooked pasta to skillet and reserved pasta water. Turn up the heat to medium-high and keep mixing well until sauce has thickened and the pasta is cooked all the way through.
- Garnish with parsley and Parmesan
You will definitely taste the difference in this next level pasta! Whether it is how the sauce clings onto the pasta, or the sophisticated red wine caramelized onions, I promise you will be blown away!
So give this a try and let me know what you think below!
As always, see you soon!
Janani <3 <3