Lush Life

To be a lush chef, does not mean to drink in excess - this can result in scary fires and bad dishes. A lush chef is one who enjoys gourmet cooking/baking, often with fresh ingredients and the smart use of one's home bar. If there happens to be half a bottle of beer, a glass of wine, or a sip of brandy left over...well, one cannot be wasteful. I give you permission to imbibe.

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The Lush Chef
Twitter: @thelushchef Provenance: Santa Monica Dish: Coq au Vin Spirit: Whiskey Wine: Malbec Beer: Hefeweizen Farmer's Market: Santa Monica on Main Street
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Aug 4, 2011

Caramelized Onion & Goat Cheese Pasta with White Wine

Libations used: 3/4 cup white wine
Libations left over: pretty much the whole bottle
I had just gotten back from a weekend jaunt to Palm Springs, had very little food in the fridge and had missed my weekly farmer's market.  But I did have plenty of tomatoes that had been given to me from a co-worker and a neighbor (sending you both some Lush Chef love), a huge basket of onions, and basil growing outside my window.  This Caramelized Onion & Goat Cheese Pasta from the very cheeky Bite Me Cookbook just required a few more inexpensive ingredients, and voilà a dish that could tide me over for the week.  The flavors are so simple and rich, and your mama will be proud that you managed to squeeze in some spinach.  The recipe calls for a dry white wine, and I picked up a bottle of Marqués de Cáceres Spanish Rioja ($5.99 at Traders Joe's, thank you very much). 

Caramelized Onion & Goat Cheese Pasta with White Wine - serves 6
Caramelized Onion Ingredients:
  • 1 Tbs olive oil
  • 1 Tbs butter
  • 2 medium white or sweet onions, halved & thinly sliced
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
Pasta Ingredients:
  • 3/4 lb penne pasta
  • 1 Tbs olive oil
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • 3/4 cup dry white wine
  • 5 plum or pearl tomatoes, seeded and chopped
  • 4 cups fresh baby spinach, stemmed and thinly sliced
  • 2 Tbs finely diced sun-dried tomatoes
  • 1 Tbs chopped fresh basil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup crumbled goat cheese
To make the caramelized onions:
- In a large pan, melt the butter and oil over medium heat.
- Stir in the onions, sugar and salt and sauté for 15 minutes, or until onions are a dark golden brown.
- Stir in balsamic vinegar and cook until the liquid has evaporated (about 1 1/2 minutes).
- Remove from heat and set aside.

To make the pasta:
- While the onions are sauteing, make the pasta, drain well and set aside.
- In a large skillet or dutch oven (I make a mess and need something BIG to mix everything up in), heat olive oil over medium heat.
- Add the garlic and sauté for about 30 seconds.
- Turn the heat to high and stir in white wine and reduce for about 3 minutes.
- Reduce heat to medium and add the pasta, caramelized onions, tomatoes, sun-dried tomatoes, spinach, basil, salt and pepper and stir it all together so it cooks nicely for a couple of minutes.
- Remove from the heat and stir in the Parmesan cheese.
- Serve immediately, topped with goat cheese.