Sliced shallots coated in balsamic vinegar give this caramelized shallot pasta delicious flavor! This easy vegetarian recipe comes together in 30 minutes and makes a great dinner. (PS – this does not contain anchovies like the internet-famous shallot pasta.)
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If you’re not eating caramelized shallots, you’re missing out!! Especially these caramelized shallots. Though they be but little, they are fierce-ly loaded with flavor. (See what I did there?)
Shallots taste similar to sweet onions, and caramelizing them makes them even sweeter and more concentrated with flavor. Before tossing them with freshly cooked penne and parmesan cheese, I cooked the shallots down in balsamic vinegar and brown sugar. Yeah. It’s as delicious as it sounds. Trust me.
One of the best things about this balsamic caramelized shallot pasta is that it’s a fancy dish that comes together quickly. You don’t need nearly as much time to caramelize shallots as you do onions.
Serve this recipe for a quick weeknight meal, and sub in chickpea or lentil pasta for a little more protein. Or enjoy it as a side dish. Whatever you do, you can’t go wrong!
How to Make Caramelized Shallot Pasta
As I mentioned, this recipe is not the same as the viral shallot pasta recipe by Alison Roman. It’s made without anchovies and is suitable for a vegetarian diet.
- Slice the shallots into rings. Cook them in olive oil, salt, and pepper in a large skillet until tender, about 10 to 15 minutes.
- Sprinkle in the brown sugar and add the balsamic vinegar to the skillet. Stir until the shallots are coated, and cook for another 5 to 7 minutes until most of the moisture has evaporated and the shallots have been cooked down and are sticky.
- In the meantime, prepare the pasta according to package instructions. Reserve about a cup of pasta water before draining.
- Add the pasta to the skillet with the caramelized shallots. Add the parmesan cheese and parsley, and pour in some pasta water to thin out the dish and coat the noodles evenly with cheese and herbs. Enjoy warm!
- The best way to cut shallots for this recipe is into rings. Check out my tutorial on how to cut shallots for tips.
- The shallots will shrink during cooking. Use a pound of shallots or more (depending on how shallot-y you want the dish to be), and add more sugar and vinegar as needed.
- To make caramelized shallot pasta a main dish, use chickpea pasta or another legume-based pasta to add more protein. You can also mix in white beans or chicken. Serve with more fresh parsley and cheese and balsamic reduction (if you have it) for maximum flavor.
- This recipe is best served right away, but it keeps very well in the fridge for a couple of days. Reheat in the microwave for about a minute.
More Veggie Pasta Recipes
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Balsamic Caramelized Shallot Pasta
- 8 ounces penne pasta - about 2 cups dry
- 2 tbsp olive oil - can sub butter
- 1 pound shallots - about 9 to 10 shallots; peeled and sliced into rings
- Salt - to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper - to taste
- 3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 2 tbsp packed brown sugar
- 1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley
- 1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese - more to taste
- Balsamic reduction - for serving, optional
- Cook pasta according to package instructions. Reserve a cup of pasta water before draining.
- Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the sliced shallots and cook until tender, stirring occasionally, about 10 to 15 minutes. Add the balsamic vinegar and brown sugar to the skillet, stir, and cook for 5 more minutes until most of the moisture has evaporated and the shallots have cooked down (they should be almost sticky).
- Transfer the drained pasta to the skillet and pour in a little bit of pasta water. Stir in the parsley and parmesan cheese. Add more pasta water as desired to ensure that the noodles are evenly coated with cheese, herbs, and shallots. Top with more cheese and drizzle with balsamic reduction if desired before serving.
- To increase the protein content, use lentil or chickpea pasta or add white beans or chicken.
- Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for 2 to 3 days. Reheat in the microwave for about a minute until warmed through.
Have a great weekend! – Lizzie