- Caramelized Onions and Bacon Pasta
I’ve been having something of a writer’s block lately. It’s crippling. There’s nothing worse than a backlog of posts and pictures to share of what I’ve been gorging myself with the past couple of weeks to remind me just how bad things can get when my muse runs out the door. But nevermind that, because here’s what I gorged myself with for lunch on Tuesday.
Old as it may sound, the fancy meals I sometimes (ahem..rarely) whip up are because there’s some kind of complaint in the household. I don’t cook for myself, in fact, you don’t want to know the kinds of things I eat if I’m left to fend for myself for a meal. So it’s only when there’s some potential disharmony brewing under the roof, you know, things like “Why are we having boring steamed chicken again?”, “Can have some else or not ahhhhhhh”, or perhaps “I want pasta but I don’t want this kind of pasta” (and one is supposed to practice some form of divination to figure out what pasta the brother wants, or better yet, what he doesn’t know he wants but will like) But no matter. If there’s anything that will always be a crowd pleaser, it’s the coupling of caramelized onions and crisp bacon. ‘Nuf said.
- Caramelizing onions
Let me tell you, I couldn’t be any happier finally cooking something, something that doesn’t involve the use of the oven. I’m beginning to think that I’ve grown a massive reliance on my Electrolux that the electrical bills cannot reconcile with. Anyway, where was I? Oh yes. Not using the oven. This relief was born from the couple of cake failures that I’ve had to experience the past week that have very effectively driven me away from making cakes the way that you’d run if your pooet was set on fire.
A pasta dish can’t get any tastier. It’s got all the wholesome, deep flavours that caramelization draws out from the humble onion. And the bacon! Oh the bacon lends such a gorgeous crunch and chew and smokeyness to everything. But hey, I don’t have to tell you that do I? Top it off with a couple of poached eggs and you’re well on your way to post-meal slumber with a happy grin on your face.
- Adding the stock. Frying up bacon.
And it’s so simple I’m telling you that you should make this the very instant that you can, and if you’ve never caramelized onions before, then this will be the very turning point in your life that you’ve been waiting for. There’s no looking back, no regrets, no what ifs. This is one recipe you’ll want to have up your sleeves whenever the cakes get you down. You’ll thank me later.
Well, so much for a writer’s block.
Caramelized Onions and Bacon Pasta
Certain types of onions taste better after caramelization, and apparently the red ones do best. I’m tempted to buy a few large, juicy-looking purple Australian onions I see in the baskets in the supermarket just to see if they taste superior to the usual red onions that come in little bags. I’ve used yellow onions before, but I must say that red ones are better for caramelization since they have lesser water content. The key to good caramelization is the evaporation of the natural moisture in the onions that you use, since the process really only begins after the moisture is drawn out of the onions and evaporated. So if your onions are juicier than usual, it’s going to take a tad longer than if you used the more flavourful and drier red onions.
- 4 large red onions, sliced
- 6 rashers of back bacon, sliced
- 1/2 cup red wine
- 1 cup chicken stock
- 2 sprigs of thyme
- 250g regular spaghetti, or fusilli
- 1/4 cup grated parmesan
- Heat up a couple of tablespoons of oil in a large heavy-bottomed pan.
- Add the sliced onions and sprigs of thyme then lower the heat to medium. You don’t want to burn the onions. Stir occasionally. Let cook for about 20 minutes.
- In the meantime, fry up the bacon in another pan till browned and crisp. Set aside.
- When the onions have caramelised, turn up the heat and add the red wine. Using a wooden spoon, scrape down the sides of the pan to dislodge the lovely browned bits.
- Once the red wine has evaporated a little, add the chicken stock. Turn the heat down to medium and let it simmer.
- Fill a pot halfway with salted water and bring to a boil. Cook the pasta for about 8 minutes till al dente.
- Drain the pasta and in a large bowl (or the pot that you used to caramelize the onions, if it is large enough) give the onions, the bacon, and the pasta a good mix to coat.
- Serve with grated parmesan and a poached egg (if you fancy).