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Caramelized Onion & Garlic Pasta Recipe

Caramelized Onion & Garlic Pasta Recipe

This full-flavored recipe is the result of my mom's love of pasta and our love of cooking together. With a bit of pepper heat and smoky bacon, the entree is excellent alone or paired with grilled chicken. —Lacy Jo Matheson, Sault Sainte Marie, Michigan
TOTAL TIME: Prep: 20 min. Cook: 35 min. YIELD:6 servings


  • 1/4 cup butter, cubed
  • 2 large sweet onions, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 8 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 cups grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil, divided
  • 1 package (16 ounces) uncooked angel hair pasta
  • 9 bacon strips, cooked and crumbled
  • 2/3 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground pepper
  • Fresh basil leaves, optional


  • 1. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, melt butter. Add the onions, pepper flakes and salt; saute until onions are tender. Stir in garlic. Reduce heat to medium-low; cook, stirring occasionally, for 30-40 minutes or until onions are deep golden brown.
  • 2. Add the tomatoes, vinegar and 2 tablespoons oil to the skillet. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain pasta; toss with onion mixture.
  • 3. Drizzle with remaining olive oil. Sprinkle with bacon, cheese, and pepper; heat through. Garnish with basil if desired. Yield: 6 servings.

Nutritional Facts

1-1/2 cups equals 574 calories, 24 g fat (9 g saturated fat), 37 mg cholesterol, 495 mg sodium, 71 g carbohydrate, 4 g fiber, 18 g protein.

Reviews for Caramelized Onion & Garlic Pasta

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Reviewed Feb. 28, 2015

"Delicious. Added some roasted cubed chicken to make it a meal."

Reviewed Aug. 13, 2014

"Love this recipe for a change of pace. Can be used as main dish (meatless or add chicken), or as a side. Family does not like cherry tomatoes, so I left them out. This is requested often!"

Reviewed Feb. 6, 2014

"Flavors of this dish are mmmm.....mmmmm.....good. Worth the trip back to the store to get the forgotten garlic. No balsamic vinegar on hand so I used seasoned rice vinegar."

Reviewed Feb. 4, 2014

"This recipe is great! Even my picky nephew who doesn't like pasta ate it. I didn't change anything."

Reviewed Jul. 25, 2013

"This is one of my families favorites and requested often. I love the combination of flavors and that it is easier to reduce or increase the amount depending on the size of the crowd being served. I personally use only 1 tbsp. of olive oil because other wise it feels to greasy to me, but other than that I leave everything the same. This one is worth trying and making!"

Reviewed May. 19, 2013

"Very tasty recipe, but as other reviewers have noted, I would also reduce the balsamic vinegar. To add another flavor element I would add 1 tablespoon of low sodium soy sauce, increase the red pepper to 1/2 teaspoon, the black pepper to 3/4 teaspoon, and add a bit of grated lemon zest to brighten things a bit. I used whole grain thin spaghetti, which worked well, but would reduce to 10 ounces for a saucier dish. Overall a great recipe & a keeper. Thanks!"

Reviewed Apr. 10, 2012

"Basic pasta recipe. Very good, but similar to many others we have tried."

Reviewed Apr. 2, 2012

"Easy to make and tasty."

Reviewed Jan. 6, 2012

"Amazing!!!! my husband couldnt get enough and my 3 yr old even ate it :) will be making again for sure."

Reviewed Dec. 16, 2011

"My husband asked for me to make this again the next night! Truly a keeper!"

Reviewed Dec. 9, 2011

"We loved this! I used a little less onion and less garlic as 8 cloves seemed like a lot to me, otherwise I made it like the recipe. Hubby and I both loved it and I took some to my daughter and she declared it one of her new favorites! We also loved the Romano sticks, although I couldn't find Romano cheese at our store so I used parmesan, but they were still delicious!"

Reviewed Dec. 3, 2011

"Caramelized onions, bacon, balsamic vinegar . . . What's not to like? Even my 10 year old son called it "excellent" (though he avoided the tomatoes). The tomatoes add a nice burst of sweetness that, of course, pairs well with the bacon."

Reviewed Nov. 28, 2011

"This recipe was awesome! I made it for my family and my husband could not stop talking about it. I must make it again. It was great having pasta without a lot of heavy sauces for a change. It was also filling too! This gets a Thumbs up from me!"

Reviewed Nov. 21, 2011

"The whole family enjoyed it, although everyone added salt."

Reviewed Nov. 15, 2011

"Sort-a, kind-a what I made tonight, minus the tomatoes and vinegar. My daughter said, "Oh Mom, it's been ages since you've made something SOOOO good!" Served with Chicken Stuffed Broccoli & Cheese. Delish!"

Reviewed Nov. 11, 2011

"I used a whole package of bacon, slightly less balsamic vinegar than it called for, and 2 cans of drained diced tomatoes instead of the grape tomatoes. My whole family really, really enjoyed this."

Reviewed Nov. 6, 2011

"this recipe has great flavor-my husband and i really enjoyed it and i know i will make it again."

Reviewed Nov. 6, 2011

"One of the best pasta recipes ever! Also loved the Romano Sticks to go with it. So easy and so good. Thanks for all the wonderful recipes."

Reviewed Nov. 3, 2011

"Simple yet wonderful dish. My family gobbled it up!"

Reviewed Oct. 28, 2011

"My husband and I really liked it .I used what I had on hand almost a whole pkg of Turkey bacon garlic salt and I added the tomatoes at the end and didn't heat it more and put the cheese on after i dished it up .and just used extra olive oil no butter"

Reviewed Oct. 26, 2011

"Yummy!! I love the balsamic in this recipe, gives it that different twist. And the onions really lend a sweet flavor. I did mix in some fresh baby spinach and that worked well."

Reviewed Oct. 25, 2011

"Both hubby and I enjoyed it. Will definitely

make again but will cut back on the amount of pasta. The flavor of the tomatoes, bacon, onion, garlic and vinegar were great! Nice simple and inexpensive meal for a change! Thanks for creating a keeper!"

Reviewed Oct. 24, 2011

"Simple and elegant."

Reviewed Oct. 23, 2011

"Using a whole package of pasta leaves it a bit on the dry side. It also makes to too difficult to really incorporate the onions so that you get the nice flavor of the caramelized onions. I would only use a half-package of pasta next time, or just double the rest of the ingredients. Otherwise, this is a very tasty dish and very easy to make."

Reviewed Oct. 22, 2011

"It was wonderful... I enjoyed the tomatoes and the simple pasta flavor with wonderful caramelized onions... I was not able to use fresh basil and used dried basil...might would have been better if I had used fresh leaves. My husband said it needed more tomato sauce... I disagree..."

Reviewed Oct. 21, 2011

"Very good with the following alterations:

1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes (instead of 1/4 tsp)
1 can (14 oz) petite diced tomatoes (instead of grape tomatoes)
1-2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar (instead of 1/4 cup)
No bacon (because I'm cheap and lazy)
sprinkled with dried basil instead of fresh"

Reviewed Oct. 21, 2011

"I cut the recipe in half. It was very good; I will definitely make it again."

Reviewed Oct. 10, 2011

"I used Whole Wheat pasta and served with Rosemary Romano Bread. I'd use less Balsamic next time. I also used only 6 pieces of bacon, there was enough salt in the meal."

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Wine Pairings

Light-Bodied White Wine

Enjoy this recipe with a light-bodied white wine such as Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio.