It’s no secret that we at Entrèe Press encourage home cooks to “Play With Your Food!” Recently, our test kitchen was multi-tasking (blogging and backgrounding Food Network) and were inspired by some of the recipes shared by Rachael Ray in the episode “Setting up Chop.” The kitchen’s multi-tasking turned in to a delicious reward. It combines the tomato/fennel of our favorite pizza with a luscious pasta sauce in a dish that, for lack of a better phrase… “takes it up a notch.”
This mash-up of Rachael’s recipes for Caramelized Onion Penne and Pork Chops Pizzaiola is one of our new favorite dishes of the summer. We had to research “Pizzaiola” and discovered it’s roughly translated as “meat in pizza style” with peppers, tomatoes, olive oil, etc. Meat / protein is an option in this recipe, so the name still applies but we simplified it to “Pizza Pasta.”
Play with your food and have fun! Thanks, Rachael!
Pizza Pasta (with Caramelized Onion)
1/2 pound Fettucine (dried, or make your own with this recipe from Mario Batali on The Chew)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 large onions, thinly sliced
1 bay leaf
1/4 cup tomato paste
1 cup white wine
1/2 -1 cup chicken stock
1/2 cup cream
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (a couple of handfuls)
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
Heat the extra-virgin olive oil in a dutch oven or heavy bottom skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and bay leaf and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Cook the onions until very soft and light caramel in color, about 20 minutes.
Tip: it always takes us longer than noted in recipes to caramelize onions. We usually add sugar to urge the process. Try step-by-step instructions here. And read this theory about “Why Recipe Writers Lie About Caramelizing Onions.”
While the pasta cooks, add the tomato paste to the onion mixture, and cook for 1 minute, then add the wine, and cook for another minute. Stir in the stock, fennel seed, onions, red pepper flakes, and oregano. Stir in the cream (***we used whole milk with a knob of butter***) and cook until heated through. Remove the bay leaf, then add the pasta and cheese; toss to coat. Serve once the pasta is al dente.
Tip: if you add enough chicken stock, the pasta will absorb any “extra” sauce and you’ll have a velvety dish. Transfer to a serving bowl, sprinkle with parsley and serve.
We also tested this with one chicken breast per person, if you’d like to add protein. Par cook (saute seasoned chicken in dutch oven for 4 minutes on each side and remove to cook onions… let rest, shred… then finish cooking in the sauce.) Shrimp would be a terrific substitute! Cooked differently, of course. We’d suggest poaching shrimp in the simmering sauce after adding the cream and pasta…