I reworked this recipe from an original that called for vodka and heavy whipping cream. My friends and family had a hard time believing a sauce this rich, flavorful and creamy could be light. —Margaret Wilson, Hemet, California
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1 package (16 ounces) penne pasta
2 tablespoons butter
1 medium onion, halved and thinly sliced
2 tablespoons minced fresh thyme or 2 teaspoons dried thyme
2 tablespoons minced fresh basil or 2 teaspoons dried basil
1 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 cups half-and-half cream, divided
1/2 cup white wine or reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 cup shredded Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, divided
In a 6-qt. stockpot, cook pasta according to package directions. Drain; return to pot.
Meanwhile, in a large nonstick skillet, heat butter over medium heat; saute onion until lightly browned, 8-10 minutes. Add herbs and salt; cook and stir 1 minute. Add 1 cup cream, wine and tomato paste; cook and stir until blended.
Mix flour and remaining 1/2 cup cream until smooth; gradually stir into onion mixture. Bring to a boil; cook and stir until thickened, about 2 minutes. Stir in 1/4 cup cheese. Stir into pasta. Serve with remaining 1/4 cup cheese.