A creamy pasta sauce is always a comforting dinner option. This French Onion Pasta recipe is all the warm flavors from French onion soup in a savory pasta dish. I use red onions for a deep caramelized color and rich onion flavor.
This French onion pasta encompasses some of my favorite flavors when it comes to a cream sauce pasta. First, the obvious is that rich cream that generously coats each noodle. Next is the melted butter that’s infused with grated garlic and fresh thyme leaves. But the final best part is the wine. The Sherry wine in the sauce adds that welcomed depth of flavor that helps balance the creamy cheesiness of the sauce.
Wine, Gruyere, and caramelized onions…are you getting hungry?
BEST ONIONS FOR CARAMELIZED ONIONS
You’re probably familiar with the 4 types of large onions you’ll see at the grocery store: yellow, sweet, white, and red. While traditional French onion soup recipes use yellow onions, I prefer to go with red.
I choose red onions for a few reasons. First, I really like their flavor. I find that they’re a good balance between sweet and peppery. But the main reason why I use red onions is you’ll get a really deep color to the caramelization. That beautiful purple exterior becomes a deep brownish burgundy which I find to be a really appealing pop of color against the beige cream sauce.
HOW TO SLICE THE ONIONS
For this recipe you’re going to slice the onions a bit smaller than you would for a soup or chicken recipe.
When I first tested the recipe I used the typical long slices of the onions. While they caramelized up just fine, the length of the onion was a bit weird in the pasta dish. They were kind of stringy, and I’d get a big mouthful of onions instead of having them evenly incorporated throughout the sauce.
So for this, you’ll slice them up more shorter, about 1/2″-1″ in length is good. These will blend much butter in the sauce so you’ll get nice bites of onions instead of large clumps that are hard to disperse.
This is exactly how I like my onions to look. Red onions just produce a prettier caramelized onion in my opinion!
The bulk of the time for this recipe is used for caramelizing the onions. Once that’s done, the rest of the sauce comes together in under 20 minutes! When the onions have about 15 minutes left, get the pasta water boiling and cook the rigatoni.
When the onions are done and removed from the Dutch oven, add the butter to start making the roux. All that flavor on the bottom of the pot will help enhance the creamy sauce! Next add the garlic and thyme for a super flavorful roux, and add the remaining ingredients and simmer to make the sauce thick and creamy.
Add the cooked pasta and the caramelized onions last and you’re ready to eat!
Any leftovers just store in an airtight container in the fridge and eat within 3 days for bet freshness. This is one of those dishes the flavors get stronger the next day!
You can reheat the pasta in the microwave, or add to a pot with a touch more cream and broth to recreate the creamy sauce. Top with a touch more Gruyere and you’ve got a delicious leftover lunch or dinner.
For more French onion inspired recipes:
My favorite creamy pasta dishes:Print
French Onion Pasta
French onion pasta has all the warm flavors of the classic soup combined into a creamy savory pasta dish! I use red onions for a deep caramelized color and rich onion flavor. After the onions have caramelized, the rest of the sauce easily comes together in about 15 minutes.
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 55 minutes
- Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
- Yield: 6 servings
- Category: Pasta
- Method: Saute
- Cuisine: American
For the onions
2 medium red onions, sliced into pieces about 1/2″ – 1″ long (see photo in post)
1/2 teaspoon sugar
2 tablespoons butter
For the pasta
3 cups dry mezzi rigatoni
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons all purpose flour
2 garlic cloves, grated
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
1 cup beef broth
6 tablespoons sherry wine
2 cups light cream
1 and 1/2 cups shredded Gruyere
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
1. Dice the onions into pieces about 1/2″ to 1″ long. See post above for example photo. Melt the 2 tablespoons of butter in a Dutch oven. Add the onions and stir to coat them in the melted butter. Cook on medium low for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally. Raise the heat to medium, sprinkle the sugar over the onions and cook for an additional 10 minutes. At this point you want to keep an eye on them and stir them regularly so they are getting a deep caramelized color but not burnt. Once done, spoon out out of the Dutch oven into a bowl and set aside.
2. While the onions are caramelizing, boil the pasta.
3. After the onions are removed from the Dutch oven, add the 2 tablespoons of butter and melt. Add the grated garlic and thyme leaves and cook for 1 minute. Add the flour and stir to create the roux. Next, pour in the Sherry, cream, beef broth, salt and pepper. Raise heat to bring to a bubbly simmer, then cook on medium low for 5-7 minutes for the sauce to thicken.
4. Add the Gruyere cheese and stir to melt into the sauce.
5. Turn off heat. Add the cooked pasta and caramelized onions and stir to combine everything together.
Serve immediately, garnish with additional Gruyere.
Keywords: French onion pasta