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THE CONFIDENT COOK

Recipe: Traditional French Onion Soup turns into pasta sauce in a dish that went viral on social media

French Onion PastaKaroline Boehm Goodnick for the Boston Globe

Serves 6

Winter in New England, when we crave food that sticks to your ribs and warms you from the inside out, demands comfort food. The recipe for French Onion Pasta that's gone viral on social media checks all the boxes. But it's not for those short on time. You need to caramelize onions, which cannot be rushed. Use a heavy-based pan for the best shot at even cooking without burning. Begin with the lid on so the onions steam in their own liquid; only when they've softened sufficiently, remove the lid. At that point, keep the heat very low, and stir nearly constantly. Do not go far from the burner. After 30 to 45 minutes, the heaping mound of onions that you started with will reduce to a small pile, but one packed with complex sweetness. From there, add more flavor: garlic, red wine, Worcestershire sauce, beef broth. Until this point, you haven't strayed far from classic French Onion Soup. Now you take a sharp turn. You cook penne (or another pasta similar in size) right in the broth, where it absorbs all the flavors in the pot. When the pasta is al dente, stir in half of the grated Gruyere and heavy cream. Transfer this creamy, indulgent mixture to a baking dish and top it with more Gruyere and panko (or other dry breadcrumbs). After a few minutes in a hot oven, the pasta will emerge golden brown and crispy on top, creamy and moist in the center, and absolutely, undeniably satisfying in every way.

  • 2

    tablespoons olive oil

  • 2

    tablespoons butter

  • 4

    large yellow onions, thinly sliced

  • Salt and pepper, to taste

  • 3

    cloves garlic, finely chopped

  • ½

    cup red wine

  • 1

    tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

  • 4

    cups beef broth

  • 1

    pound penne or other short pasta

  • 2

    cups grated Gruyere cheese

  • 1

    cup heavy cream

  • 1

    cup chopped fresh parsley

  • 1

    cup panko or other dry white breadcrumbs

  • 1. Have on hand a 9-by-13-inch baking dish.

  • 2. In a heavy-based flameproof casserole or Dutch oven over medium heat, heat the oil and butter. When the butter is bubbling, add the onions and a generous pinch of salt. Cover and cook for 10 minutes, stirring once, or until the onions soften and release their juices.

  • 3. Remove the lid and turn the heat to low. Continue cooking, stirring often, for 30 to 45 minutes, or until the onions are very brown and caramelized.

  • 4. Add the garlic, and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the wine and Worcestershire sauce. Cook over medium heat, stirring, until the liquid has reduced completely.

  • 5. Turn the heat to medium-high. Add the beef broth and bring to a boil. Add the pasta, lower the heat, and cover the pan. Simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the pasta is tender but still has some bite.

  • 6. Set the oven at 425 degrees.

  • 7. Stir 1 cup of the Gruyere into the pasta. When it melts, stir in the cream, parsley, and pepper. Taste for seasoning and add more salt, if you like. Transfer the mixture to the baking dish.

  • 8. In a bowl, combine the panko or other breadcrumbs with the remaining 1 cup Gruyere. Sprinkle the mixture evenly on the pasta.

  • 9. Bake for 15 minutes, or until the topping is browned and the pasta is bubbling at the edges.

Karoline Boehm Goodnick

Serves 6

Winter in New England, when we crave food that sticks to your ribs and warms you from the inside out, demands comfort food. The recipe for French Onion Pasta that's gone viral on social media checks all the boxes. But it's not for those short on time. You need to caramelize onions, which cannot be rushed. Use a heavy-based pan for the best shot at even cooking without burning. Begin with the lid on so the onions steam in their own liquid; only when they've softened sufficiently, remove the lid. At that point, keep the heat very low, and stir nearly constantly. Do not go far from the burner. After 30 to 45 minutes, the heaping mound of onions that you started with will reduce to a small pile, but one packed with complex sweetness. From there, add more flavor: garlic, red wine, Worcestershire sauce, beef broth. Until this point, you haven't strayed far from classic French Onion Soup. Now you take a sharp turn. You cook penne (or another pasta similar in size) right in the broth, where it absorbs all the flavors in the pot. When the pasta is al dente, stir in half of the grated Gruyere and heavy cream. Transfer this creamy, indulgent mixture to a baking dish and top it with more Gruyere and panko (or other dry breadcrumbs). After a few minutes in a hot oven, the pasta will emerge golden brown and crispy on top, creamy and moist in the center, and absolutely, undeniably satisfying in every way.

2tablespoons olive oil
2tablespoons butter
4large yellow onions, thinly sliced
Salt and pepper, to taste
3cloves garlic, finely chopped
½cup red wine
1tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
4cups beef broth
1pound penne or other short pasta
2cups grated Gruyere cheese
1cup heavy cream
1cup chopped fresh parsley
1cup panko or other dry white breadcrumbs

1. Have on hand a 9-by-13-inch baking dish.

2. In a heavy-based flameproof casserole or Dutch oven over medium heat, heat the oil and butter. When the butter is bubbling, add the onions and a generous pinch of salt. Cover and cook for 10 minutes, stirring once, or until the onions soften and release their juices.

3. Remove the lid and turn the heat to low. Continue cooking, stirring often, for 30 to 45 minutes, or until the onions are very brown and caramelized.

4. Add the garlic, and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the wine and Worcestershire sauce. Cook over medium heat, stirring, until the liquid has reduced completely.

5. Turn the heat to medium-high. Add the beef broth and bring to a boil. Add the pasta, lower the heat, and cover the pan. Simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the pasta is tender but still has some bite.

6. Set the oven at 425 degrees.

7. Stir 1 cup of the Gruyere into the pasta. When it melts, stir in the cream, parsley, and pepper. Taste for seasoning and add more salt, if you like. Transfer the mixture to the baking dish.

8. In a bowl, combine the panko or other breadcrumbs with the remaining 1 cup Gruyere. Sprinkle the mixture evenly on the pasta.

9. Bake for 15 minutes, or until the topping is browned and the pasta is bubbling at the edges.Karoline Boehm Goodnick