Recipe of the week
When it’s late winter and fresh vegetables are scarce, said Emily Horton in The Washington Post, it’s time to focus on “one of the most common yet underestimated ingredients of everyday cooking.” Onions are amazing, and in this pasta recipe, caramelized red onions co-star with fennel and olives, adding “jammy, bittersweet” depth to a dish that’s rich in big flavors.
Pasta with caramelized onions, fennel, and olives
1 cup fresh plain bread crumbs
• extra-virgin olive oil
• 1¼ lbs red onions
• ½ tsp sea salt
• 2 cloves garlic, smashed, then finely chopped
• 1 tsp minced fresh rosemary leaves
• ½ tsp crushed red pepper flakes
• ½ tsp fennel seed
• ¼ cup small black olives, pitted and sliced
• 10 oz penne rigate, shells, or gnocchette
• Heat oven to 375. Toss bread crumbs with 2 tsp olive oil. Spread on a baking sheet. Bake until dark golden, about 15 minutes. Let cool.
• Halve onions, top to bottom, then cut halves lengthwise into thin slices.
• Heat a large heavy sauté pan over medium heat. Add 2½ tbsp olive oil. Stir in onions and ½ tsp salt. Cook onions, stirring minimally, until browned and crisped at the edges, 20 to 30 minutes. Add garlic, rosemary, pepper flakes, and fennel seed; cook 5 minutes. Stir in olives. Reduce heat to low.
• Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook pasta until al dente. Drain, reserving ½ cup cooking water. Return pasta to the pot. Add 2 tbsp pasta cooking water to the pan with onions. Dislodge browned bits, then pour into pasta pot along with remaining pasta water and 1 tsp oil. Stir until liquid is nearly absorbed. Divide among bowls and sprinkle with toasted bread crumbs. Serves 4.