This French Onion Pasta is a pantry friendly, budget friendly, ONE POT wonder that’s luxuriously creamy WITHOUT any heavy cream! The onions are deeply caramelized (all you do is stir) then simmered with sauce spiked with a few secret ingredients for unparalleled complex sweetness and rich umami. This deceptively simple recipe is also wonderfully versatile – variations included!
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French Onion Pasta FAQs
French Onion Pasta is inspired by famous French Onion Soup, but instead of cheesy bread, pasta is used!
There are two competing legends about the origin of French Onion Soup. The first legend claims King Louis XV returned home from hunting to practically bare cupboards. All his cook could find were onions, butter, and champagne so they were thrown into a pot and French Onion Soup was born.
The second legend claims Nicolas Appert (inventor of canning) prepared the soup at the hotel kitchen of La Pomme d’Or in Châlons-en-Champagne, when the Duke of Lorraine stopped in on his way to the Palace of Versailles. The duke was so spellbound by the soup that he left his chambers in his bathrobe to rush to the kitchen to learn the recipe for French Onion Soup so he could take it back to his court. Appert dedicates his French Onion Soup recipe in his 1831 cookbook to the duke.
Tools Used in This Recipe
Easy French Onion Pasta
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FOR THE ONIONS
FOR THE SAUCE
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- pinch-1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tablespoon reduced sodium soy sauce
- 4 cups water (may sub beef broth and omit bouillon)
- 1 12 oz. can evaporated milk
- 1/2 tablespoon cornstarch
- 2 tablespoons beef bouillon (granulated, base or cubes) (may omit and use beef broth instead of water)
- 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, minced (or 1 tsp dried)
- 2 teaspoons fresh thyme, minced (or ¾ tsp dried)
- 1/2 tsp EACH dried oregano, paprika, pepper
- 1 pound short cut pasta, uncooked (I use orecchiette)
- 5 oz. freshly shredded Gruyere cheese
- 1/4 cup freshly shredded Parmesan Cheese
- fresh parsley for garnish (optional)
- Caramelize: Cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are caramelized and dark golden brown, about 30-35 minutes. Turn down the heat and/or add additional butter/olive oil if the onions start to scorch.
- Sauté garlic, etc. Once the onions are caramelized, add the garlic, red pepper flakes, soy sauce and Worcestershire sauce and cook for 30 seconds.
- Add liquids and seasonings: Add the water and half of the evaporated milk. Whisk the cornstarch with remaining evaporated milk and add to the pot. Increase heat to high to bring to a boil while you stir in the beef bouillon and remaining herbs and seasonings.
- Boil pasta: Once boiling, add the pasta and reduce to a simmer over medium-high heat for 11-14 minutes (uncovered) OR until al dente, stirring often so the bottom doesn’t burn, then pushing the pasta into an even layer so it’s covered in liquid. The pasta should still have some excess liquid (that will become the sauce) once the pasta is done cooking.
- Add cheeses: Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the Gruyere cheese a handful at a time until melted, followed by the Parmesan until melted. Taste and season with salt and pepper if desired. If you would like a saucier pasta, stir in additional water or milk. Garnish with fresh parsley if desired.
- Meal Prep: The onions can be sliced and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to two days. You can go one step further and caramelize the onions and add the rest of the ingredients (except pasta and cheeses), cover and refrigerate. When ready to make, bring to a boil then continue with the recipe.
- Leftovers: Let the pasta cool to room temperature. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Reheat in the microwave or stovetop. adding a splash of water or milk if you would like it saucier.
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