You know, I learned a lot over Thanksgiving.
I know that I’ve basically been talking about Thanksgiving (ok and Christmas too) for the past week, but when you have 14+ people around for a few days, there are always stories.
This though, this is not a story, just some things I learned.
You ready? Okay, here it goes.
Did you know that not everyone craves/loves/NEEDS pasta??
Wait, what?!? I know, I know. I mean, I think they are crazy, but apparently my cousin Abby and her friend Sarah (hey, hey!) don’t really eat pasta. When they told me this, I basically looked at them like they were crazy. Umm…still think they are.
You see, I was serving these meatballs, cause big brother Creighton was coming to town, and I knew I needed to please him. Obviously, if you know anything about Creighton then you know that meatballs will certainly do the trick. Anyway, I put the giant bowl of pasta on the table and those girls didn’t even touch it. Yes, they ate straight up meatballs with a salad.
Abby, Sarah? What’s wrong with you two? I mean, get with the Gerard family carb loving program already!
SIDE NOTE: Abby did however enjoy my mac + cheese. But then how could she not? All of us love mac and cheese, because deep down inside we are all still eight years old (or at least want to be).
Also, Abby had an a little issue with my excessive use of butter on Thanksgiving. I almost had to kick her butt to the curb…but then I just got smart and encouraged more wine. Did the trick.
Point is, I learned that not everyone is actually in love with pasta… or butter.
The lesson registered, stayed there for about a minute and was then replaced by thoughts of dad’s pasta dish for dinner…whoops.
And then… the thoughts carried on to this french onion pasta bake. This pasta that I have been dying to tell you about for what feels like forever now, but in reality has only been a few weeks. It’s just soo good. The pasta, the onions, the cheese, the ease…need I say more?
Here’s the deal: everything gets started in one pot and then ENDS in the very same pot. YES. Dishes be gone!!
You caramelize the onions, add some red wine (cause that’s what every Wednesday dinner needs), add some mushrooms, cook a little longer, add chicken broth (or veggie broth), a little water and finally your pasta. Boil, boil, boil. Stir in some cream, some cheese…top with a little more cheese. Bake until melted and browned.
It’s like french onion soup, but umm, in pasta form!! Better?!?! Hmm, not sure. Both are so good. Can’t choose, but know this: the pasta version is kind of the ultimate hearty, cozy, wintery meal.
Perfect for a busy weeknight or a fancy weekend in.
And remember, the clean up is a breeze, leaving ample time for that thing called relaxing. Count me in!
One-Pot Creamy French Onion Pasta Bake.
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 2-3 sweet onions I like to use 2 smaller onions
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce omit if vegetarian
- 1 cup red wine
- 8 ounces button mushrooms sliced
- salt + pepper to taste
- 2 cloves garlic minced or grated
- 3 cups low sodium chicken broth + 3/4 cups water
- 1 pound of your favorite short cut pasta use gluten free if needed
- 2 leaves bay
- 2-3 fresh thyme sprigs
- 1 1/4 cups heavy cream
- pinch of cayenne pepper
- 6 ounces gruyere cheese shredded
- 1/3 cup gorgonzola cheese crumbled (optional)
Heat a large high-sided dutch oven over medium-high heat and add the butter. Add the onions + brown sugar and cook about 10 minutes, stirring frequently, until softened. At this point you want to slowly add the Worcestershire sauce and the wine, let them cook into the onions, add more and continue to cook. Do this until the the wine is gone or the onions are caramelized to your liking. Make sure the wine has evaporated.
Preheat the the broiler to high.
Toss the mushroom and garlic in with the caramelized onions, season with salt + pepper, cook another 3-4 minutes or until the mushrooms are soft.
Pour in the chicken broth + water and bring to a boil. Add your pasta, bay leaves and thyme, cook, stirring often until most of the liquid has been soaked up by the pasta and the pasta is al dente. If you feel your pasta needs more water to continue cooking, add around 1/2 cup.
Stir in the cream and a pinch of cayenne pepper. Stir in half the gruyere cheese and the gorgonzola cheese. Cook 2 minutes and then remove from the heat. Top with the remaining cheese and place under the broiler for 1-2 minutes until the cheese is melted.
Serve warm, top with fresh thyme and parsley if desired.
Pasta lovers unite.