On a visit to Bologna, we were served this dish as part of a small menu and it blew us away. We had to cook this ourselves! Here is our recipe for this simple delicacy:
Typically Italian, few ingredients are enough: onions, butter, strained tomatoes and a little Grana Padano are all you need. We like to use pasta with a lot of surface area for this dish so that it can be nicely coated with the sugo. It is also an enormously inexpensive dish.
Melt the butter in a frying pan over medium heat (it should not get too hot as the ingredients are supposed to sauté slowly). We like to add a drizzle of olive oil to prevent the butter from browning unintentionally.
Add the onions, halved and then cut into stripes along the grain. Stir, put the lid on and sweat gently for 10 minutes. Then stir well again, loosening any roasting substances from the bottom of the pan, and cook with the lid on for another 10 minutes. Repeat this so that after 30 minutes the onions have developed a wonderful aroma and quite a lot of sweetness.
Now add strained tomatoes, mix everything thoroughly and let it cook for another 10 minutes with the lid on. Then season with salt and pepper from the mill. No other spices are necessary and certainly weren’t in our dish in Bologna.
Drain your pasta, but keep some of the cooking water. Now add your cooked pasta and some Grana Padano (or Parmigiano Reggiano) to the pan and stir thoroughly until the sauce has completely coated the pasta. The little cheese should be completely dissolved in the sauce. If liquid is missing, add a few tablespoons of the pasta water.
That’s all. The dish is very little work, but as is often the case, time is your friend – give the onions their half hour, they will be thanking you.
And may the taste be with you.
Ingredients (for 2 people):
Depending on your appetite 100 to 125 g pasta seca
500 g onions
60 g butter (or olive oil or vegan butter substitute)
6 tbsp strained tomatoes
20 g Grana Padano
Salt and pepper