Pasta With Carmelized Onions

The original version of this recipe appeared in Cooking Light magazine. As I mentioned in my last post, few of CL's recipes are really very well composed. It seems like there's a significant problem in recipe composition or instructions in most of their recipes.

Take this recipe, for example. Besides the ingredients you'll see in my version of the recipe, they called for 3 1/2 cups of sliced radicchio. Radicchio is that vegetable that looks like purple cabbage, but is smaller and has a different taste. The bright, almost spicy taste of radicchio is what adds a little jolt of flavor to a sophisticated salad, much like arugula can do.

But 3 1/2 cups of raw radicchio for one pound of pasta is insane. Even if you're a radicchio lover, which not everyone is, that's an enormous mound of raw vegetable, even if it wilts a bit when added to hot pasta. Further, the picture published with the recipe doesn't begin to show that amount - just a few tasteful strands.

So what's going on with this Cooking Light disaster? Is there a typo - did they mean 2/3 cup instead of 3 and 1/2? Did they intend that 3 cups gets cooked down with the caramelized onions, than 1/2 cup raw is added to finish? We'll never know. But this is a great example of a recipe that looks good initially, but contains fatal (OK not fatal, just glaring) errors.

Pasta with Caramelized Onio(and maybe some radicchio if you'd like)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
6 cups onions, thinly sliced
-- You'll need 1.5 to 2 pounds, which sounds like a lot, and at first looks like a lot, but trust me on this one
Crushed red pepper flakes
6 garlic cloves, smashed and sliced
1/2 cup white wine
1 red pepper cut into thin strips, or 1 cup sliced radicchio (optional)
1 pound pasta
1 tablespoon fresh oregano 
-- or 1/2 teaspoon dried
2 ounces Parmigiano Reggiano, grated
  1. Heat oil and butter in a large skillet or dutch oven over medium-high heat. Cook onion for 15 minutes, then lower heat to medium-low and cook another 20 minutes or more until onions are a deep golden brown. Season lightly with salt twice during while cooking the onion.
  2. Add garlic and red pepper flakes to taste (no more than 1 teaspoon). Add pepper strips or radicchio is using. Cook 3 minutes.
  3. Add wine and cook until liquid is absorbed.
  4. While onions are browning, cook pasta and drain, reserving about 1/2 cup of cooking liquid.
  5. Toss pasta, onion mixture, oregano with a generous amount of kosher salt and fresh ground pepper. Mix in reserved cooking liquid to create a little bit of sauce consistency. Serve with grated Parmigiano.

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