Caramelized onions in anything are amazing and it’s no different with this recipe. If you’ve never tried Cipollini onions, I suggest trying to find them for this recipe. Don’t worry though; if you can’t find them you can use any sweet onion. But cipollini onions have a nice sweetness and mild flavour to them. They’re the perfect onion to caramelize and even roast with. You usually see them roasted whole because they’re so small. What makes this recipe work though is really going far with the caramelization process. The recipe calls for a lot of onions but it works, trust me. Adding the sausage is perfect because, sausage and onions go perfectly together. At last, it wouldn’t be a Food Loves Company recipe without Parmigiano-Reggiano! Enjoy.
RIGATONI WITH CARAMELIZED ONIONS, SAUSAGE AND PARMIGIANO-REGGIANO
Recipe by Mark Calaminici | Food Loves Company
2-3 sausages, casings removed (hot, mild or sweet)
2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp. unsalted butter
300-350g Cipollini onions, trimmed, skins removed and sliced or chopped
Salt, to taste
Freshly cracked pepper, to taste
Chili flakes, to taste
White wine, a splash or two
1lb Rigatoni pasta
80g Parmigiano-Reggiano, finely grated
12g fresh parsley, finely chopped
1. In a pan on medium heat, add sausage and cook, stirring occasionally. You can break up the sausage up into pieces with a wooden spoon. I like to brown up the sausage as they start to get crispy, so let the sausage sit a bit undisturbed to get a bit crispy and colour. You will see the pan may have some fond developing and that will get released when we add the wine. Once sausage is cooked remove and set aside.
2. In the same pan, heat extra-virgin olive oil and the butter in a pan over medium to high heat. Add onions, season with salt, freshly cracked pepper and chili flakes to taste. Mix to coat. Leave undisturbed for 2-3 minutes to start the browning process. Give another mix and at this point you can leave again for another 3-4 minutes and bring heat to low. This process will take anywhere from 20-25 minutes, depending on personal preference, so check and stir often. Some of the fond that developed with the sausage may get released, if not, add the wine or water if you don’t want to use alcohol and mix to release the fond and continue cooking and let the wine reduce. Add the sausage back to the pan as well and mix.
3. Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water. Reserve pasta water.
4. As the pasta is cooking, add a ladle of pasta water to the pan. This will help create our sauce. Remove the pasta a couple minutes before al dente to finish cooking it in the pan. Add the pasta to the pan and toss to incorporate all the ingredients, adding more pasta water if needed. Once pasta is cooked, remove pan from heat or turn off heat and add Parmigiano-Reggiano a handful at a time, mixing and tossing. Add parsley, mixing and tossing. Plate and top with as much Parmigiano-Reggiano and serve immediately. Enjoy!