As the More is More Mom®, you know that I love amassing large quantities of all things…….which would include recipes! Cookbooks call my name, as do cooking magazines and the food section in the newspaper. My eyes are immediately drawn to all of the possibilities of a wonderful new dish. The pages of my cookbooks are dog eared, with colorful Post It Notes sticking out this way and that. So many recipes………only so many meals in a day.
I’ve had this pasta dish in mind for the past two years, but it just seemed to keep making its way to the bottom of my recipe pile. More fool me; this was delicious!
Pasta with Caramelized Onions and Fresh Gremolata:
This was so fresh and scrumptious! It appears that a Gremolata is a chopped herb condiment that is typically made of garlic, parsley and lemon zest. As a substitute, you can use other herbs, such as oregano, and other citrus’s, such as orange zest. Gremolata pairs as beautifully with pasta as it does with meat, poultry and fish. How about that?
I like to have all of my ingredients prepped before I even warm up the oven. Last minute chopping and mess making drives me crazy. My preference is to have the cutting board and knives washed up, and the counter wiped down before I even get started with the cooking. I know that’s totally OCD, but what are you going to do?
1 bundle of fresh Italian parsley roughly chopped I cleaver off most of the stems, run the parsley under water until it is nice and clean and then spin it in my salad spinner to get it as dry as possible. Working with wet herbs results in a mushy mess (see, again with the mess).
Several cloves of garlic In a continued effort to keep the vampires away, I used something like 5 cloves. Rather than chop, I press. It’s so much faster. I hope I’m not perpetuating some horrible gourmet faux pas!
*Please Note: I prep all identical ingredients for the various recipes that I am making for one particular meal all at the same time. So, when I pressed garlic for the Gremolata, I also pressed a large handful of garlic for garlic bread. I pressed it right in to a sauce pan filled with two sticks of better. FYI.
1 lemon, for zesting Now, in this instance, I will use the zest from a fresh lemon because the flavor is an integral element of the Gremolata. I used a handheld grater and rubbed it all over the lemon for that fresh, beautiful aroma!
Mix the parsley, garlic and lemon zest together….and you have Gremolata! This can be made several days ahead of time, so use it on more than one dish over the course of the week. Pasta one night, perhaps fish another.
Pasta with Caramelized Onions:
1 onion, very thinly sliced The white onions at the grocery store looked good this week, but you can use a yellow onion too. I peeled the onion (an Ogre is like an onion, you have to peel back the many layers to get to the good parts, as Shrek would say) and set aside in a bowl.
1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes I like a little kick, so I would use a bit more.
Kosher salt a pinch, a dash…whatever floats your boat.
1 seeded and finely diced hot pepper I had a jalapeño pepper on hand, but you can use a serrano pepper, a hot red pepper, or a green chile. Whatever you like or whatever you have.
1/2 cup of butter, cut in to smaller pieces unsalted preferably I’m a salt-aholic, but I suppose you get enough salt in the onions.
3-4 Tbsp. of lemon juice I am clearly not a purist. I think that squeezing lemons is an enormous, messy hassle (I certainly don’t mind a hassle, but you know how I despise an unnecessary mess), so I am inclined to use lemon juice out of a bottle. I mean in this particular application the juice is a mild flavor enhancement, not the main show. If it were a featured item, then by all means I would endure the mess. Otherwise the bottle is good enough for me.
1lb dried pasta This seems to be the kind of recipe that would lend itself to twirling a piece of spaghetti around on a fork, but my kids (teenagers actually) prefer a short tubular pasta, like a Penne or a Gemmeli. Use what your people will eat without complaining too much. In fact, my people won’t eat this concoction at all, so I will make a double serving of noodles, and butter half for them. I know…..I have raised total savages!
1 cup of a hard, grated cheese like a Pecorino or Parmesan
Now that we have all of our ingredients lined up and ready to go, it’s time to start cooking.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
Heat 2 Tbsp. of olive oil is a large skillet over medium heat. I love my All-Clad skillet best (which I bought on an excursion to Williams Sonoma with my friend Margaret after we had been to a cooking demonstration) because it cleans up so beautifully (again, I am all about the clean up.).
Add the onion, red pepper flakes and salt. You will want to stir this frequently to ensure that the onions get nice and tender and brown, but not burnt. This should take 10-12 minutes.
Add your finely diced pepper and stir for another minute or so.
Take the skillet off of the heat and stir in the butter until it melts.
Add the lemon juice and a little more salt if you so desire. Keep warm until the pasta is ready.
When the water is at a roving boil, add the pasta and cook until the noodles are cooked to your liking (I like my pasta prepared a little softer than al dente, otherwise, why cook it at all?).
Drain the pasta. In this case I was using half of the cooked pasta for this dish, and I was buttering the other half for the kid’s (darn it…..teenagers.). It is so easy to just add the noodles to my nice big skillet, with the nice thick edge, and generously blend the pasta together with my caramelized onion mixture while the pan is still warm.
Toss on the grated cheese, and mix well.
Sprinkle the Gremolata over the pasta, and it’s good and ready to eat!
I stock up on this terrific chicken andouille sausage from CostCo and keep it in my freezer. They defrost quickly, at break neck speed, in a shallow baking dish filled with cold water. It’s perfect for a meal that I’m planning in the fly.
Rather than slather the sausages in a sauce, I toss them on the grill and cook them over a medium heat. They grill up quite nicely, like a juicy bratwurst.
Whipping up a batch of garlic bread couldn’t be easier. We eat pasta at least once a week, so I always stock up on rolls to make nice think garlic bread. I typically pick up a package of sub-rolls (one half of a roll makes a perfectly generous serving size), and that way I’m all set if someone wants a hearty sandwich instead.
I use 4 rolls split in two (so there are 8 pieces of bread) and lay them out on an aluminum foil lined baking sheet (again, I live for efficient clean up.).
Earlier, when I was making my Gremolata and pressing my garlic, I pressed a handful of cloves in to a sauce pan that held 2 sticks of butter.
Melt the butter and garlic on the stove.
Brush the melted butter on to each individual slice of bread.
Broil on High, but on the middle rack in your oven, for only a few minutes. These you have to watch very carefully. I have lost my fair share of trays of garlic bread by looking away for only a moment.
On a dinner plate serve the pasta, a sausage link and piece of garlic bread. Pour yourself a glass of wine and enjoy……..