Caramelized Onion Pasta with Gruyere Cheese Sauce

Finally! I promised I’d share this recipe long ago, and lucky for you I am finally getting around to it.

As with any recipe I’ll share, this one is vegetarian.  I could go into a whole spiel about why I became a vegetarian, but I’ll spare you the deets and get on with this sophisticated batch of awesome-ness.

Let’s talk for a quick minute about Deborah Madison.  A vegetarian that doesn’t know who Deborah Madison is, is like a Greek who doesn’t know about tzatziki.  Yeah, it’s that bad.  I think some people have the assumption that vegetarian food can be bland, fussy, labor intensive, and quite frankly-expensive.  Deborah Madison busts through those myths with dishes that are intricate yet simple, affordable, and delicious.  What I love most about her cookbooks is the fact that the she lets the quality and simplicity of the ingredients shine.  These are not dishes with twenty spices, and a billion ingredients that take four hours to prepare.  One of my my most favorite meals from the book Vegetarian Cooking for everyone, is a caramelized onion pasta with Gruyere.  Gruyere is hands down my most favorite cheese.  I cannot eat a piece of Gruyere with my eyes open.  The nuttiness, the texture, the subtle undertones and complexities of this cheese, can only be realized in the absence of sight.  I know, I’m very serious about my cheese.

The recipe I’m going to share with you is an adaptation of Deborah Madison’s.  Rather than topping the pasta with shredded Gruyere, I went a step further and created a Gruyere cheese sauce.  Hold the phone-did she just say Gruyere cheese sauce? Whoop Whoop, yes I did! Now slow your roll, and get a pen handy to jot down these ingredients:

Caramelized Onion Pasta with Gruyere Cheese Sauce:

  • 3-4 large sweet onions-sliced or diced whichever you prefer
  • a tbs or more of fresh thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 2tbs butter
  • 2tbs flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • 8oz Gruyere-shredded
  • Pasta of your choice-I used about a 1 lb of egg noodles
  • Parsely for garnish

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I wanted to show you my “salt cellar” it’s a sea urchin candle holder turned kosher salt vessel. Yo ho ho matey.

Ok, so quite simply add 2tbs olive oil to a pan, add your sliced onions, 2 bay leaves, thyme, and cook low and slow until their brown caramelized bits of goodness. Then set the onions aside in a small bowl, you will make your sauce in the same pan.

gruyerebest You can put your pasta on to boil while your making the sauce.  In the same pan that you caramelized your onions, melt 2tbs butter, add 2tbs flour and cook for a minute to remove the raw flour taste.  Slowly whisk in your milk, and let simmer for a few minutes until bubbly and thickened.  Add salt and pepper here, and a dash of nutmeg if your feeling adventurous!  That is bechemel sauce in a nutshell, it’s the basis for most cheese sauces.  Pat yourself on the back, and gently add in the shredded Gruyere, and a handful of chopped parsley, and you my friend just made a delicious gourmet cheese sauce. BOOM.

yum yum

Toss your pasta with your caramelized onions, add your creamy Gruyere sauce, and top each portion with a generous pinch of flat leaf parsely.  TA DA!

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Please comment below if you try this recipe, I’d love to hear to how it turned out!

XO-Tara

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