One wouldn’t think that a pasta sauce made mostly of onions would be so elegant, beguiling, and comforting too, but it is. With an abundance of onions this evening, I made a version of a heartier sauce I’d seen on menus in Naples. Here is a recipe for four people.
4 medium yellow onions, peeled & sliced thin
1 stick butter
chicken or vegetable broth
3/4 C heavy cream
Tagliatelle or fettuccine pasta, about 1 lb
Salt, freshly ground pepper, nutmeg, parsley
Saute the onions in the butter over low heat until soft but not brown. Covering the pan tightly, but stirring often helps to avoid browning. Add enough broth to barely cover. Cook, covered, 15-20 minutes, again, watchful that the onions don’t brown. You don’t want brown. (Meanwhile, start heating salted water of pasta) Add the cream to the onions. Puree the mixture. I used an immersion blender. The point is not to over-blend. You want some texture. Season to taste with salt, pepper and a bit of nutmeg (freshly grated if possible). Keep warm while the pasta cooks. Drain the pasta, Mix with warm sauce. Put in bowls, sprinkle on parsley. Pass the Parmesan. I added some pitted salt-cured black olives because I love them, but that does complicate the color theme of cream with a touch of green from the parsley.
For a rumination on cooking onions and the creative process, see my blog: “Onions & the Cost of Fiction.”