Caramelized Shallot Pasta
Caramelized Shallot Pasta
This Caramelized Shallot Pasta is about to blow your taste buds away! Deeply caramelized shallots blend with tomato paste, anchovies, and Calabrian chilies to make a rich sauce bursting with umami. Lemon-garlic bread crumbs and a mountain of freshly grated parmesan cheese make this pasta recipe even more special.
You will not believe how much flavor is packed into one skillet! Caramelized shallot pasta is great for date nights or easy entertaining!
Caramelized Shallot Pasta: Perfect for Entertaining
I’m huge on entertaining, especially during the holidays! I would say that we have guests for dinner, on average, at least once a month and double that during the holiday season. Everyone needs impressive, but low-effort recipes to whip out when you have company coming!
Enter: Caramelized shallot pasta! This incredible recipe has all the glitz, glam, and flavor while still feeling approachable. This is a one-skillet pasta recipe where we build layer on layer of flavor resulting in a dinner that’s bursting with rich and vibrant flavors throughout. Rich and bold sauce? Check. Crispy garlicky-lemon bread crumbs for texture? Check. Mounds of cheese? Check, check, check. Caramelized shallot pasta checks all the boxes for an impressive meal.
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Why You’ll Love this Recipe
Rich & Decadent – Caramelized shallot pasta is perfection – deeply caramelized shallots and garlic combined with tomato paste, anchovies, olives, and white wine create a bold and delicious pasta. Every bite of Caramelized shallot pasta is filled with flavor.
Impressive – If there is ever an occasion to look like a culinary genius, it’s during the holidays! If you’ve ever wanted to make restaurant-quality pasta, this is that recipe. Your guests will be blown away.
Economical – This recipe is elegant and beautiful without a massive price tag. Caramelized shallot pasta is made with mostly high-quality pantry staples that you may already have!
One-pan recipe – Other than the toasty breadcrumbs (which can be made in advance), this pasta recipe comes together in one pan! Entertaining has never been so easy.
How to Make Caramelized Shallot Pasta
You’re going to be shocked at how simple this recipe is to put together! Caramelized pasta is really just a handful of ingredients. It only requires a few minutes of prep and comes together so quickly.
Ingredients and Substitutions
- Pasta. I love bucatini for this recipe, but spaghetti or any other strand pasta would work great. I recommend buying high-quality bronze-cut pasta.
- Shallots. Shallots caramelized so beautifully!
- Garlic. Don’t be shy here. I love slicing the garlic instead of mincing it so you get beautiful caramelized pieces in every bite.
- Olive Oil. Choose a flavorful olive oil!
- Butter. The combination of butter and olive oil is so flavorful. Stirring a couple of tablespoons of butter in at the end makes the sauce rich while balancing out the acidity of the tomato.
- Tomato Paste. Use a high-quality tomato paste for best results.
- Anchovies. Again, with so few ingredients, use high quality anchovies here! You could swap in 1 tablespoon of anchovy paste.
- Calabrian Chilies. My favorite chilies for Italian pasta recipes! They are so fruity with a nice heat. I buy them by the jar at Trader Joe’s (labeled bomba paste). You could swap in crushed red pepper flakes to taste.
- Olives. This is an optional ingredient, but I loved the brininess that they added. My favorites are pitted Cerignola, frescatrano, or castelvetrano.
- White Wine. Use something dry and bright here. You could skip the wine and just add more pasta water.
- Parmesan. Buy a wedge and grate it by hand, it makes a huge difference!
- Breadcrumbs. Homemade is best here, but panko works well too.
- Lemon zest. A little lemon zest in the breadcrumbs really brightens the dish.
- Basil. The basil adds so much fresh flavor!
Making Homemade Bread Crumbs for Caramelized Shallot Pasta
Fresh breadcrumbs are essential for Caramelized Shallot Pasta and they couldn’t be easier to make. They add the perfect bit of crunch for a nice textural change. Whenever I have bread that’s getting ready to go stale or that’s been hanging around for a bit, I make a batch of breadcrumbs to keep in the freezer.
Tear some pieces of bread into chunks and throw them into a food processor and run it until you have small crumbs. It’s THAT easy. Alternately, if you don’t have a food processor, just break the bread up into the smallest pieces possible.
- Caramelize the shallots: Melt butter and olive oil in your skillet over medium heat. Add all the thinly sliced shallots and toss to coat. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 10-12 minutes or until the shallots start to turn golden brown. Add the thinly sliced garlic and continue to cook until the shallots and garlic are caramelized.
- Cook the anchovies and tomato paste: This is an important step to build flavor! Add the minced anchovies and olives, and cook while stirring to break them down into the shallots and garlic. Add the tomato paste and Calabrian chilies to the skillet and stir to incorporate the shallots and garlic. Cook, stirring often, for 3-4 minutes, until the tomato paste has darkened in color.
- Deglaze with wine: Add the wine to the skillet and stir to bring to a simmer. Once most of the wine has evaporated, add the reserved pasta water and bring to a simmer. Add the pasta and remaining butter and stir to emulsify the butter as it melts. Squeeze in a little lemon juice and season to taste with salt and pepper. Add the parmesan cheese and stir to melt. Divide into bowls.
- Make the breadcrumbs: Melt the butter in a small skillet over medium heat. Grate 1 clove of garlic into the butter and cook for 1 minute. Add the breadcrumbs and toss well to coat in the butter. Cook, stirring often, for 4-5 minutes or until the breadcrumbs are golden brown. Stir in the lemon zest and remove from the heat. Top the pasta with the breadcrumbs.
Tips for Making Perfect Caramelized Shallot Pasta
This is such an easy and impressive recipe to throw together! You’re going to be blown away by the flavor in the dish. Here are all my tips for pulling this pasta off flawlessly:
- Reserve at least 1 ½ cups cooking water before draining pasta! This starchy water is the secret to making any pasta sauce extra creamy and getting the sauce to cling to the noodles.
- Finish cooking pasta directly in the sauce. Always pull your pasta at al dente and cook the pasta in the sauce. It’ll absorb all those flavors better!
- Don’t underestimate the power of anchovies! If you’re scared or anxious about cooking with anchovies, trust us, the flavor is so packed with umami! Anchovies, when cooked into a sauce, do not taste fishy at all. They add salt and a rich savory flavor that only enhances the sauce.
- Don’t skip the breadcrumbs! Having a texture contrast like crispy, buttery breadcrumbs on top makes this Caramelized Shallot Pasta extra special. The lemon adds a punch of citrus which brightens the whole dish.
- Use the right pasta. I always use bronze-cut bucatini because the surface of the pasta is a little rougher from being extruded. This roughness really helps the sauce cling to the noodles!
- Mind your salt. Keep an eye on how much salt you add to this dish. We’re using lots of salty elements like salted butter, anchovies, olives, and parmesan. Taste at the end before adding salt, but feel free to be generous with the pepper!
If you follow these tips, you’ll be making restaurant quality pasta in no time!
What to Serve with Caramelized Shallot Pasta
What is a dinner without sides and dessert? Here are my favorite sides to serve alongside Caramelized Shallot Pasta for a true show-stopping meal.
- No-Knead Focaccia
- Italian Chopped Salad
- Cheese and Charcuterie Board
- Kale Caesar Salad
- Gooey Nutella Lava Cakes
More Pasta Recipes to Try Now
Cacio e Pepe for Two
Pasta al Limone with Shrimp
Classic Pasta alla Vodka
White Bolognese Rigatoni
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Caramelized Shallot Pasta
Caramelized Shallot Pasta
- 10 oz bucatini pasta
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 4 tablespoons salted butter, divided
- 5 shallots, thinly sliced
- 5 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 2 teaspoons chopped Calabrian chilies
- 3 anchovy fillets, finely minced
- 1/2 cup chopped castelvetrano olives (optional)
- 3 tablespoons high-quality tomato paste
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 1 1/2 cups reserved pasta water
- 1 cup freshly grated parmesan
Lemon-Garlic Bread Crumbs
- 3 tablespoons salted butter
- 1 garlic clove, grated or finely minced
- 2/3 cup fresh breadcrumbs or panko*
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest
Caramelized Shallot Pasta
- Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the bucatini until al dente (about 1-2 minutes shy of package instructions). Reserve 1 1/2 cups of pasta water and set aside. Drain the pasta and set aside until ready to use. I always cook my pasta while my sauce is cooking vs cooking it ahead of time.
- Melt 1 tablespoon butter and olive oil in your skillet over medium heat. Add all the thinly sliced shallots and toss to coat. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes or until the shallots start to turn golden brown. Add the thinly sliced garlic and continue to cook until the shallots and garlic are caramelized.
- Add the minced anchovies and olives, and cook while stirring to break them down into the shallots and garlic. Add the tomato paste and Calabrian chilies to the skillet and stir to incorporate. Cook, stirring often, for 3-4 minutes, until the tomato paste has darkened in color.
- Add the wine to the skillet and stir to bring to a simmer. Once most of the wine has evaporated, add the reserved pasta water and bring to a simmer. Add the pasta and remaining butter and stir to emulsify the butter as it melts. Squeeze in a little lemon juice and season to taste with salt and pepper. Add the parmesan cheese and stir to melt. Divide into bowls. Top with bread crumbs, basil, and more parmesan.
- Melt the butter in a small skillet over medium heat. Grate 1 clove of garlic into the butter and cook for 1 minute. Add the breadcrumbs and toss well to coat in the butter. Cook, stirring often, for 4-5 minutes or until the breadcrumbs are golden brown. Remove from the heat and stir in the lemon zest.
Rate & Review This Recipe
Jenny, you’ve done it again!! This pasta was SO GOOD. It’s the rich sauce, and those lemon breadcrumbs for me. The breadcrumbs add this perfect lemony buttery CRUNCH to the pasta. Who knew pasta needed a crunch? This pasta is so fun, flirty, and sure to impress. 10/10 will absolutely be making this again. Thanks for a perfect date night dinner!
Thank you so much Andrew! So happy you loved the recipe. Thank you for being such a loyal reader! <3