French Onion Pasta is a fusion dish that combines the rich, caramelized flavors of traditional French onion soup with pasta. Sweet caramelized onions, savory beef broth, and gooey melted cheese coat al dente pasta, creating a delicious dinner that's both filling and satisfying.Jump to Recipe
There are so many things to love about French onion soup. It's a classic that's so simple yet deep and rich with flavor. I love a good fusion of flavors so when this became popular on social media, I knew I had to put my own spin to it and make it for my family. Everyone loved it and I've been making it once a week for the past month.
This has been extremely convenient for me because this is a one pot meal. This means less dishes, clean up, and time spent in the kitchen after a long day of work. It's a win win for everyone.
Why You'll Love French Onion Pasta
Rich Flavor Profile: French onion soup is widely known for its deep, caramelized onion flavor. This creates a delicious flavor base that the noodles absorb as they cook in the beef onion broth. Mushrooms, garlic, and white wine are all added to complete the sauce that is packed with so much flavor.
Comfort Food Fusion: There's something so comforting about pasta and soup this time of year right? This recipe takes the combination of a classic soup and turns it into a pasta that is unique and offers the best of both worlds.
Gooey Cheese Factor: Parmesan cheese is the cheese of choice here. It's gooey, sharp, and elevates the pasta binding the sauce and bringing everything together at the end SO well. You're not limited to just using parmesan. Traditionally most recipes use Gruyère which is another great choice and can be substituted or added in addition to parmesan. Have fun with it and see which variation you prefer.
So Easy to Make: Everything is made in one pot which is my favorite part about this french onion pasta recipe recipe. There's minimal prep time and once everything is added to your pot, dinner will be ready in no time. It's delicious and convenient. Make this on a busy weeknight after work and don't worry about the burden of cleaning a messy kitchen.
Ingredient Notes and Substitutions
Rotini - One thing I love about using this pasta is all twists and spirals really allow the sauce to coat the pasta all throughout. At the end of the day you can make this with any pasta you have on hand. Keep in mind that rotini takes about 8-10 minutes to cook so if you're using a pasta that takes longer, keep in mind you may need to add more time to the cooking process and you may need to change the amount of liquid used. Watch it and stir frequently to avoid burning or sticking.
Olive oil - A great base for the onion, garlic, and mushrooms to cook in. Try using a high quality olive oil for delicious flavor. I also suggest using a flavored olive oil to enhance the veggies even more. You can use butter as a substitute.
Ground beef - I like to use a lean ground beef because it's not quite as fatty however, an 80/20 beef is going to be a little more tender as it cooks and will release more flavor. I didn't specify which type of ground beef you should use so it really boils down to your preference.
Worcestershire - Enhances the beefy flavor in the sauce and in the beef. It also adds a little bit of sweetness and tanginess.
Onion - Classic French onion soup is made with yellow onion so this is what I used. However, I didn't specify what type of onion you need to use because any variation can be used. Try using white, sweet onions, or red.
Mushrooms - Use your favorite mushrooms, I normally use button or white for this.
Garlic - Fresh garlic is best.
All purpose flour - To thicken the sauce.
White wine - Use a dry white wine for this recipe for the best flavor.
Beef broth - Chicken broth, chicken stock, or beef stock can be used as substitutes. You could even deepen the flavor with a splash of sherry vinegar if you have any on hand.
Water - To help the pasta cook and to add more liquid for the pasta to absorb. Replacing the water for more broth would make it way too salty.
Dried thyme - Fresh sprigs of thyme can be substituted
Salt and pepper - To enhance the flavors of all the other ingredients
Parmesan cheese - Freshly grated is going to give you the best results in this pasta dish. Gruyere cheese or Swiss cheese is commonly used and can be substituted instead of parmesan.
Parsley - For a garnish. It adds so much to the flavor and presentation.
How to Make One Pot French Onion Pasta
Step 1. Add ground beef to pot over medium-high heat to a large pot or large dutch oven. Season with salt and black pepper. Cook until completely browned and broken up. Stir and separate with a spatula frequently. Once the beef has browned, drain and set aside.
Step 2. To the same pot add the olive oil, sliced onions, and garlic. Cook stirring occasionally over medium heat for about 3-4 minutes or until the onion is browned and caramelized. You may need to stir in 1 tablespoon of water to prevent the onions from burning at the bottom of the pan.
Step 3. Add mushrooms and cook for a few more minutes until softened. Add 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce to deglaze the pan. Stir for a few more seconds until most of the liquid has been absorbed. It’s okay if your mushrooms are still firm. They’re going to cook down when we add the broth.
Step 4. Add ground beef back to the pot and stir in flour until the flour evenly coats everything in the pot.
Step 5. Deglaze the pan with white wine. Stir making sure there are no lumps.
Step 6. Add rotini, beef broth, water, and thyme. Press pasta under the liquid the best you can. Bring mixture to a boil and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook uncovered for 10 minutes or until rotini is al dente. Stir occasionally to ensure the pasta cooks evenly.
Step 7. Once done, remove from heat and stir in 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce and parmesan cheese. Garnish with fresh parsley and serve immediately.
Tips For The Best Results
Caramelize Onions Perfectly: Take your time to slowly caramelize the onions and do not rush this process. Low and slow cooking allows the sugars in the onions to develop, resulting in a sweet and rich flavor.
Use Quality Ingredients: Opt for high-quality cheese like freshly grated parmesan cheese. If it's not freshly grated you're not going to get the same flavor.
Control Pasta Doneness: Cook the pasta al dente to maintain a good texture. The pasta should be firm but not undercooked. Be sure to stir the pasta occasionally to prevent it from cooking unevenly.
Serve Hot and Fresh: French Onion Pasta is best enjoyed immediately after preparation. Serve it hot to fully appreciate the gooey cheese and rich flavors.
Personalize the Recipe: Don't hesitate to personalize the recipe to your taste. Adjust the level of sweetness, cheesiness, or any other elements based on your preferences.
Ways to Serve French Onion Pasta
Parmesan Crisp Topping: Create Parmesan crisps by baking small rounds of grated Parmesan until golden and crispy. Place these on top of individual servings for an added crunch.
Top with Crispy Onions: Garnish the pasta with crispy fried onions for an extra layer of texture and a nod to the classic French onion soup toppings.
Sprinkle with Truffle Oil: Elevate the dish by drizzling truffle oil over the pasta just before serving. This adds a luxurious aroma and depth of flavor.
Pair with Crusty Bread: Serve the French Onion Pasta with a side of crusty bread for dipping into the flavorful broth or sauce.
French Onion Pasta Variations
Vegetarian French Onion Pasta: Create a vegetarian version by using vegetable broth instead of beef broth and omit the beef. Enhance the umami with more mushrooms. Try different varieties to make it fun.
Creamy French Onion Pasta: Add a touch of heavy cream or mascarpone to the sauce for a lusciously creamy texture. This variation introduces a velvety element to the dish.
Italian-Inspired French Onion Pasta: Infuse Italian flavors by incorporating ingredients like balsamic vinegar or fresh basil,
Spicy French Onion Pasta: Amp up the heat with red pepper flakes, or a pinch of cayenne pepper. The spiciness contrasts nicely with the sweetness of caramelized onions.
Baked French Onion Pasta Casserole: Turn the dish into a baked casserole by layering pasta with caramelized onions, cheese, and perhaps a breadcrumb topping. Bake until bubbly and golden for a comforting casserole experience.
Herb-Infused French Onion Pasta: Experiment with different herbs such as rosemary, thyme, or sage to infuse distinct herbal notes into the dish. Fresh herbs can be added as a garnish as well.
Seafood French Onion Pasta: Introduce seafood elements like shrimp or scallops for a unique twist. The sweet and savory combination of caramelized onions pairs well with the delicate flavors of seafood.
Caramelized Leek and Bacon Variation: Replace or complement the caramelized onions with leeks for a milder flavor. Add crispy bacon bits for an extra layer of savory goodness.
Storing and Reheating
To store French Onion Pasta, first, allow any leftovers to cool. Transfer the pasta to an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 3-4 days for optimum freshness. I don't recommend freezing because pasta may have an undesirable texture when thawed.
To reheat you can heat over the stove or in the microwave. If reheating on the stove add the leftover pasta to a sauce pan or pot depending on how much you're reheating. Add a splash of water or broth, and heat on medium low. Stir occasionally to ensure the pasta is heated through and the water loosens the sauce.
If using a microwave place the pasta in a microwave safe bowl, add a splash of water to the dish to prevent from drying out. Place a damp paper towel over the top then microwave in 30 second increments. Stir then repeat until completed heated through.
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The Best One Pot French Onion Pasta
- 1 lb ground beef
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 large onions cut in half then thinly sliced
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1 cup sliced mushrooms
- 2 tablespoons worcestershire divided
- 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
- 1/2 cup white wine
- 1 lb rotini
- 3 cups beef broth
- 1 cup water
- 2 teaspoons dried thyme
- 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
- Add ground beef to pot over medium-high heat to a large pot or large dutch oven. Season with salt and black pepper. Cook until completely browned and broken up. Stir and separate with a spatula frequently. Once the beef has browned, drain and set aside.
- To the same pot add the olive oil, sliced onions, and garlic. Cook stirring occasionally over medium heat for about 3-4 minutes or until the onion is browned and caramelized. You may need to stir in 1 tablespoon of water to prevent the onions from burning at the bottom of the pan.
- Add mushrooms and cook for a few more minutes until softened. Add 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce to deglaze the pan. Stir for a few more seconds until most of the liquid has been absorbed. It’s okay if your mushrooms are still firm. They’re going to cook down when we add the broth.
- Add ground beef back to the pot and stir in flour until the flour evenly coats everything in the pot.
- Deglaze the pan with white wine. Stir making sure there are no lumps.
- Add rotini, beef broth, water, and thyme. Press pasta under the liquid the best you can. Bring mixture to a boil and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook uncovered for 10 minutes or until rotini is al dente. Stir occasionally to ensure the pasta cooks evenly.
- Once done, remove from heat and stir in 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce and parmesan cheese. Garnish with fresh parsley and serve immediately.