Sunday, January 17, 2010

Smothered Onions Sauce

I had heard about this recipe, but I was still skeptical. Just onions pretty much. Lots of them. And some white wine and parsley. Doesn't sound like much of a sauce for a pasta.

I was a little worried when I put the onions in the saute pan after slicing. Marcella, I have learned, does not believe in heating fat before putting in other ingredients. This isn't so much of a worry when you can see the fat heat and the garlic sizzle, but in this case butter, olive oil, about a million onions (6 cups) and some salt is put in a pan cold before the fire lit and the lid put on. Then it's hidden and you don't lift the lid for an hour or so, after which the onions are meant to be (and indeed were) soft and sweet. I peeked and stirred a few times. If you don't have a braising saute pan for this it no doubt will end in tears.

I was a little hesitant about the browning at the end. She calls for the onions to be browned until they are a 'deep dark gold'. By this stage they were sweet and delicious and I didn't want to ruin a good thing. I didn't want them to end up like barbeque onions. In the end I just browned them in the sense of them being brown rather than white. I'm not sure if this is a deep dark gold, but they sure tasted good. I think next time I'll try and brown them even more so long as I don't burn them.

Once the wine boiled down and the onions were salted I think this sauce could well have been one of the most delicious things I've ever eaten. I know I just said that about the Alice Waters gratin but I'm either easily pleased or on a roll.

Either way, it was damn good. So good I was reluctant to toss it with the pasta, although it did meet my old friend parmesan in the process. I didn't use as much pasta as was suggested because I loved the sauce so much.

So how was it? Well we both gobbled it down pretty fast, and it was declared a winner. This will be cooked again, no doubt. I think next time I'll drizzle some olive oil over the top before serving. Glad to have a pasta that isn't tomato based that is so tasty.

Makes me keen to make the chicken with onions from Marcella's Italian Kitchen.

1 comment:

  1. I did the sauce too, but I don't like the sweet onion taste too much. I tried a french onion soup earlier and this was also not my favourite. But I remember, tasting it and thinking: If you are a fan of sweet onion taste, this sauce is good.