Marcella Hazan's Spaghetti with Smothered Onions

My favorite onion-featuring dish: they’re sliced thin, cooked until jammy (at least a half hour) in abundant olive oil, with salt and pepper and over pasta. All thanks to the great Marcella Hazan.

Makes: 4 to 6 servings
Time: 1 hour


  • 2 tablespoons butter

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 1 ½ pounds onions, sliced very thin, about 6 cups

  • Salt

  • Pepper

  • ½ cup dry white wine

  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley

  • ⅓ cup Parmesan

  • 1 to 1 ½ pounds spaghetti


1. Put the butter, olive oil, and onions with some salt in a large sauté pan. Cover and turn on the heat to very low. Cook for almost an hour until the onions become very soft.

2. Uncover the pan, raise the heat to medium high, and cook the onions until they become colored a deep, dark gold. Any liquid the onions may have shed must now boil away.

3. Add liberal grindings of pepper. Taste and correct for salt. Bear in mind that onions become very sweet when cooked in this manner and need an adequate amount of seasoning. Add the wine, turn the heat up, and stir frequently while the wine bubbles away. Add the parsley, stir thoroughly, and take off heat.

4. Toss with cooked drained pasta, adding the grated Parmesan. As you toss, separate the onion strands somewhat to distribute them as much as possible throughout the pasta. Serve immediately.

Recipe from Marcella Hazan’s Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking