Sunday Pasta®: Rigatoni con Cipolle (Onions)
To cry, or not to cry, that is the question:
Whether ’tis Nobler in the mind to suffer
The Slings and Arrows of eye-burning Onions,
Or to take Arms against the Sea of tears,
And by opposing end them: to not cry or weep
No more; and by weep, to say we end
The eye-ache, and the thousand Natural tears
That Onions are heir to? ‘Tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wished. To rinse the onion under cold water,
To keep your distance, perchance to cut quickly; Ay, there’s the rub,
For in that weep, what delicious dreams may come,
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
Must give us pause. There’s the respect for the mighty Onion.
Apparently, even The Bard loved onions… And despite the fact that their pungent defense easily gives way to sweetness, onions remain the kitchen’s MVP. Pasta with onions, most famously the onions of Tropea, in Calabria, make a very easy, sweet and savory dish. You can use any onion variety: red onion, Vidalia, yellow, or mix it up. The wine is optional, though it does add some complexity. The pecorino cheese is a perfect complement, but Parmigiano works too. And finally, feel free to add some freshly chopped basil, thyme, or parsley to the onions during the last few minutes of cooking.
Slice the onions into thin rounds. In a large skillet, add the onions, wine, olive oil, and some salt and pepper. Cover and cook over low heat for about 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to boil for the pasta. When the pasta added to the water, remove the lid from the onions and allow the onions to turn slightly golden. When the pasta is cooked al dente, drain it, retaining 1 cup of the cooking water. Add the pasta to the onion mixture and cook for a minute. Add some cooking water if it seems dry. Serve immediately with a generous sprinkle of Pecorino and some fresh black pepper.