I'm pretty adventurous and open-minded when it comes to food (if I do say so myself). I rarely wrinkle my nose at anything, and I'm game to try just about any dish you'll put in front of me. That said, I also know that there are certain flavor combinations I'm just not wild about.
Case in point: dessert for dinner. Just ... no. Not for me.
So when I read the ingredients list for Beggar's Linguine in Around My French Table, this week's French Fridays with Dorie dish, I knew I was going to have to make some serious changes. All those figs and dates in my pasta just added up to an unpleasant cloying sweetness in my mental palate. I realize that there are some traditional pasta dishes that call for raisins - I've even made one - but for me, in a savory dish the sweetness should be the accent, not the focal point.
At first, I hesitated to call this a French Fridays post, but my dish was absolutely inspired by Dorie's. (And besides, if you think I went off recipe, you should see what Trevor did with this. Seriously, go check out Sis. Boom. Blog! for a really cool interpretation/transformation of this dish.)
I knew that I wanted to keep a sweetness in my linguine, but rather than having this come from fruit, I went with caramelized red onions - the trick is to cook them low and slow until they melt and turn into sauce. Since this is my own dish, unlike on most French Fridays I can actually share the recipe with you.
Linguine with Sweet Melted Onions
serves 4 as a main course
6 oz pancetta, small dice
2 tbsp butter
2 large red onions, sliced thin
1 lb linguine, cooked al dente
(*reserve some of the water the pasta cooks in)
1/2 cup chopped and toasted walnuts
1-2 tbsp Italian flat leaf parsley, chopped
fresh grated Parmesan, to taste
Kosher salt and pepper, to taste
Fry the pancetta in a deep skillet over medium heat until crispy. Remove to drain. Turn the heat to low and add the butter to the same pan. Add the onions and a dash of salt, and stir to coat. Cook over low heat, uncovered, for 30-45 minutes, stirring ever 5 minutes or so, until the onions have "melted." Add salt and pepper to taste. Add the cooked pasta to the sauce, along with a dusting of Parmesan, the pancetta, 1 tbsp of parsley, and half of the walnuts. Stir to coat the pasta with the sauce and distribute the ingredients evenly. If necessary to thin the onion sauce, add a bit of the pasta water to the skillet. To serve, garnish each plate with additional walnuts, parsley, and Parmesan.
As always, Happy French Fridays. If you want to play along, pick of a copy of the book and get cooking! And make sure to check out what everyone else made here.