Spaghetti with Onions

The husband and I have wonderfully different palates, and this recipe proved it. 

While watching—yet another—baseball game one night after work, we quickly made up this dish. Sure, you need a little patience as you will want to cook the onions on a low heat for a long time (say 15 minutes or so) to give them that lovely, sweet flavor rather than the usual strong and piquant flavor they normally have when raw. But, a little bit after you have begun the onions’ frying, you can make up the spaghetti, and by the time the spaghetti is done, you’re ready to finish the sauce. The milk will curdle, and the recipe will hold your hand, telling you not to worry. This is a perfect, economical, Thursday-night meal filled with those ingredients you have on hand all around the house, and you don't have to miss the first inning of the game. 

We settled into our spots, forks and napkins at the ready, added our salt, pepper, and cheese, and proceeded to watch Hunter Pence and Buster Posey and (my personal favorite) Angel Pagan win another game (for our beloved Giants are out of that horrid, cretinous April slump that made me think maybe this year the Giants would come in lower than my equally-beloved Cubs (who are only 6.5 games out as of this writing!)). Unable to finish my bowl of pasta, I traded my remaining noodles for the husband’s empty bowl to place in front of me.

He did a taste test of my remaining noodles and declared that it turns out that I like a lot more pepper and cheese. He likes a lot more salt. I like my pasta to inch closer to my adored Italian favorite cacio e pepe, while he likes his to taste like a salt lick.

There you have it.

This easy dinner makes it simple for both of us to dress up a tasty pasta dish just to our own liking. And clearly my liking is right and his is wrong.

Spaghetti with Onions
(This cookbook holds a special place in my heart as it was one of the first cookbooks I owned in that five bedroom house that I rented with friends in the Avenues of Salt Lake City.)

2 Servings

2 large onions
1 tsp olive oil
1 tsp ground fennel
1/2 lb spaghetti
1 cup skim milk
1 cup canned tomatoes, crushed or coarsely chopped (8-ounce can)
Salt and ground black pepper to taste
Parmesan cheese to serve
Parsley, for garnish

1.  Slice off the ends of the onions. Cut each onion in half lengthwise and remove the peel.  Slice in half lengthwise into strips.

2.  Bring a large pot of water to a boil.

3.  While the water heats, pour the oil into a large skillet or wide soup pot and add the onions and fennel, if using.  Saute, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking, until the onions are translucent, about 10 minutes.

4.  Cook the spaghetti in the boiling water for just five minutes.

5.  Meanwhile, add the milk and tomatoes to the onions.  The milk will curdle, but don't worry. Cover and gently simmer.

6.  When the spaghetti has cooked exactly 5 minutes, drain it and add it immediately to the onion mixture. Simmer the spaghetti in the sauce for about 5 minutes, stirring constantly, until the pasta is al dente and the sauce is smooth. Drizzle in a little more milk if the sauce becomes too stiff. Add the salt and pepper and parmesan cheese to taste. Sprinkle on a pinch of parsley with each serving. Serve immediately.


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