Here’s a simple last minute suggestion if you’re interested
in a Valentine’s Day dinner idea that will really wow your sweetie without
having to break the piggy bank! You may even have everything you need in your
it. Being an avid fan of caramelized onion anything, I was on
board! All you need is 1.5 pounds of regular yellow
onions, some pasta, Parmesan cheese and a little fortified wine such as Madeira, but dry Sherry would work. I
used Madeira that I found for $5.99 a bottle
at the liquor store.
The onions are first caramelized in butter for an hour. No, that is not a typo – One Hour. Low and slow in the key to delicious, jammy
caramelized onions. James Beard’s original recipe calls for TWO sticks of butter. Food 52’s version has 10 Tablespoons of butter. I used 8 Tablespoons and I think you could even reduce that to 6 Tablespoons. The onions in the photo above have already cooked for one hour. The pan was almost full of onions when I started so you can see how much they soften.
At the end of an hour, a splash of Madeira
and a good dose of freshly grated Parmesan cheese and you have a swoon-worthy first
course or side dish. I served
mine as a meatless meal with some braised kale but this would be scrumptious
with almost any kind of meat, poultry or seafood.
The first time I made it I used sweet onions and found the pasta tasted just a little too sweet with the Madeira. The next time, I used regular yellow onions
and reduced the amount of Madeira. Just right!
I really had a hard time keeping my fork out of the pan while I was
taking these photos! It’s so
Serves 4 to 6 (small first-course portions)
6-8 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 1/2 pounds regular yellow (not sweet) onions, halved and sliced 1/4-inch thick
1 tablespoon sugar
2 Tablespoons Madeira (original recipe calls for 1/4 cup), can also use dry sherry
3/4 pound hot cooked pasta (I used fettuccine but papparadelle is also recommended)
Sea salt, for serving (if needed)
Grated Parmesan, for serving
Note: Save a little of the pasta cooking water in case the sauce needs a little more liquid.
Melt the butter in a large (12-inch) skillet over medium heat. Add the
sliced onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until they are soft and
translucent, being careful not to burn them. Reduce the heat to low and
stir in the sugar and a pinch of salt. Continue cooking the onions
slowly for about 1 hour, stirring occasionally. They should be dark,
caramelized and gooey.
Add the Madeira to the onions and cook
for a few more minutes, then add the cooked and drained pasta to the
pan. Add a few tablespoons of grated Parmesan, and toss the pasta with
the sauce until mixed together. Add just a little pasta cooking water,
Serve with additional grated Parmesan and some sea salt, if needed.