If you’re like me and most other people I know, you LOVE to eat. So love WHAT you eat! And what could be better than a huge dish of bubbling, cheesy, caramelized comfort? French Onion Soup, meet Pasta Bake. ?
Enjoying a scrumptious, homey meal is one of life’s greatest pleasures — it has the power to soothe, spark memories and gather loved ones around a table. When the mood strikes, we often reach for a classic… Mac-n-cheese, spaghetti & meatballs, chicken pot pie, chocolate chip cookies… dishes which hold a special spot in our hearts.
There are of course good reasons that classic dishes are, well, CLASSIC. Loved and lauded, they have stood the test of time.
BUT, one of my favorite things to do is stand them on their head!
As you know, I have fun with food. I LOVE taking the best parts of classic dishes, and adding a fun twist, a new way to appreciate them. Enter my French Onion (soup) + Pasta Bake.
The best things in life are worth a little effort. Think Sunday Supper… make this when you want to nourish and comfort your friends and family. This one’s not gonna get the “Quick & Easy” tag due to its extended time on the cooktop and oven, but it really isn’t complicated to put together.
Tons of softened onions and a thickened stock bulk up the dish and keep it from getting out of control. Served up with a simple, crisp green salad, it’s a perfect indulgence.
If you love French Onion soup, you will ADORE my riff on these two classic comfort foods.
This is without a doubt an “every once in a while” dish… though after your first bite, you’ll crave it every week!
Are There Any Substitutions?
- If beef stock isn’t your thing, you can use vegetable stock to make it vegetarian. It won’t have that true, French Onion Soup flavor, but it will come close and will still definitely be delicious.
- If you don’t have dry vermouth, you could use a dry white wine.
- Gruyere is the classic cheese for French Onion, but Comte will be great too. Both should be readily available in grocery stores that have a good cheese selection, but if you still have trouble finding them, ask for a good Swiss-style melting cheese.
Can I Make This Ahead?
Yes. It can be prepared up to step 7 and refrigerated for up to a day. When ready to bake, resume with step 8, topping with the bread and cheese. Add 5-10 minutes to the cook time if coming cold out of the fridge.
Watch me make my French Onion Pasta Bake:
French Onion Baked Pasta
- 2 large sweet onions sliced
- 2 cloves garlic sliced
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- ¼ cup dry vermouth
- 1-2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 4 tablespoons butter divided use
- ¼ cup flour
- 2 cups beef stock
- 12 ounces pasta such as campanile or fusilli
- 3 cups cubed sourdough bread from a medium loaf
- 2 cups shredded gruyere cheese
- Preheat the oven to 375. Butter a 9 x 13 rectangular baking dish and set aside.
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil, and keep at a simmer until ready to cook the pasta.
- Meanwhile, prepare the onions. Melt two tablespoons of the butter over medium heat in a large saute pan with a lid or large saucepan or stockpot. Add the onions, garlic, thyme, and 1 teaspoon salt and stir. Cook for 5 or 6 minutes, stirring occasionally, adjusting the heat if they start to dry out or brown too quickly.
- Pour in the vermouth and stir, scraping up any bits stuck to the bottom. Partially cover, and cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. The onions should be very soft and the liquid evaporated.
- While the onions are cooking, cook the pasta in salted water until just al dente. The pasta will continue to cook in the oven, so be sure not to overcook it here. It should be drained about 2 minutes before the instructed cook time. Set aside until the onions are finished.
- Add the remaining butter to the pot with the onions. Once melted, stir in the flour and cook over low heat for 2 minutes, stirring the entire time. Pour in the beef stock and stir vigorously to avoid any lumps. Bring to a simmer, stirring the entire time, then simmer without stirring over low heat for 4-5 minutes until slightly thickened.
- Combine the pasta and the onions and taste for seasoning. Add fresh cracked black pepper and if it is needed, add more salt. Pour into the prepared pan.
- Top with the cubed bread, pressing it down slightly into the pasta and onions, then scatter the cheese over the bread evenly.
- Bake for 30 minutes until bubbling. Serve warm and gooey.
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