This pantry pasta is warm, hearty, and full of French onion soup flavor. The best part is that it can be on your table in 40 minutes. The onions are lightly caramelized, then tossed with al dente pasta, buttery breadcrumbs, and of course nutty gruyere cheese—all items that are readily found in a well-stocked kitchen.
You can easily use the base of this recipe and change the add-ins. Try using chicken and mushrooms or chickpeas and spinach—it all depends on what your family likes. It's a quick and easy weeknight meal that any home cook can tackle and the leftovers reheat extremely well. Just add a little extra broth and heat it up in a saute pan when you're ready to enjoy again.
Magic No-Recipe Pantry Pasta
- 1/2 pound short pasta (such as campanelle, cellentani, rotini, or farfalle)
- 3 tablespoons butter (divided)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large vidalia onion (sliced)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 cloves garlic (minced)
- 1 tablespoon flour
- 1 cup beef broth
- 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
- 2 sprigs thyme
- 1/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
- 4 ounces Gruyere cheese (shredded)
Gather the ingredients.
Cook pasta according to package directions.
Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons of butter and the olive oil in a sauté pan over medium heat. When the butter is melted, add the onion and salt. Saute until onions are softened and golden brown, about 20 minutes.
Add the garlic and flour. Stir to incorporate the flour into the fat. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes on low heat to cook off the flour flavor.
Add the beef broth, Worcestershire sauce, and the leaves from the thyme sprigs, stirring with a spoon while incorporating. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes or until the sauce is thickened.
Add the remaining tablespoon of butter to a small sauté pan. Heat until melted and then add the breadcrumbs, toss to coat and toast on low heat until lightly browned.
Add the cooked pasta and the Gruyere cheese into the pan. Toss to combine. The heat from the sauce will melt the cheese just enough.
Top with toasted breadcrumbs and additional shredded Gruyere if you wish. Serve immediately.
- Chicken and Mushroom Pasta: Saute the onions with a cup of chopped cremini mushrooms. After you add the garlic and flour, add in a cup of shredded rotisserie chicken. Keep the Gruyere cheese or substitute with parmesan (or do both). You can also add in a little heavy cream to make it extra decadent.
- Chickpea, Spinach, and Artichoke Pasta: After you saute the onions, garlic, and flour, toss in a can of chickpeas, a cup of roughly chopped spinach, and a cup of quartered artichoke hearts. Follow the rest of the recipe or substitute vegetable broth to make the dish vegetarian. Keep the Gruyere or substitute with Pecorino cheese. Keep the breadcrumbs or leave them out.