Onion-Buttered Noodles
Onion-Buttered Noodles
When you don’t know what to make for dinner, make this! This recipe capitalizes on the savory sweetness and sweet savoriness that comes when you throw a bunch of onions in a buttery skillet and wait.


  • 1 3/4 lbs yellow onions
  • 6 tbsp salted butter, at room temperature, divided
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 oz long pasta, such as fettuccine or pappardelle
  • 1 to 2 garnishes


  1. Halve, peel, and thinly slice the onions. Mince just enough sliced onion to yield 2 tablespoons, then set that aside.
  2. Add 2 tablespoons of butter to a large skillet over medium heat. Once melted, add the sliced onions. Generously season with salt and pepper. Cook until golden and jammy, 25 to 35 minutes, stirring often and lowering the heat as needed to avoid scorching; you can add a splash of water every so often if needed to deglaze if the onions threaten to burn. When they’re done, drop the heat to as low as possible to keep warm.
  3. Meanwhile, fill a large pot with water and set over high heat to come to a boil. When the water is boiling, generously season with salt, then add the pasta. Cook according to the package instructions until al dente.
  4. With the skillet still over low heat, use tongs or a slotted spoon to transfer the pasta to the skillet with the onions (and don’t drain that water). Add the minced onion, remaining 4 tablespoons of butter, and ¼ cup of pasta water, then toss everything together. Add more pasta water if needed to reach a sauce consistency you love, keeping in mind that it’ll thicken as it sits. Toss in or sprinkle with a bonus or two, if you’d like.


  • Just before serving as you toss the noodles with more butter and starchy water, throw in a couple of spoonfuls of minced onion and this surprise will send the dish into another dimension.
  • If you don’t have salted butter, simply increase the salt to taste.
  • Any long noodle works wonders here, from spaghetti to bucatini to the ones listed below. If you only have something stumpy, like rigatoni or penne, that will work in a pinch.
  • You can pick a bonus garnish or two, if you’d like, and toss in or sprinkle on top just before serving: Chopped herbs, such as dill, parsley, or chives. Toasted sesame seeds or chopped walnuts. Grated Parmesan or pecorino. A sprinkle of red pepper flakes or spoonful of Calabrian chile paste.


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