Caramelized onions create the magic in this dish, while the chickpeas and pasta add that satisfying chew. Consider making a big batch to have on hand to spice up other dishes. It will keep refrigerated for a week and several months when frozen. The aroma that permeates the house when you caramelize them is bewitching. —Serena Cosmo | Rustic Plate
pasta of your choice (about 3/4 of a 1 lb. box)
29 oz. can of chickpeas or 3 cups of freshly-cooked chickpeas (pre-soaked and pre-cooked)
Trim the tip and root from the onions, cut them in half and remove the skins. Slice the onion vertically, from root to stem into thin slivers. Make sure the slivers are similar in size, as it will help them to cook and eventually caramelize more evenly.
Heat the largest skillet you have on medium-high heat and add the oil. When the oil begins to swirl from the heat (don’t allow it to smoke), add the onion slivers. Stir them gently to make sure all slivers are thoroughly coated in oil. Cook them on medium-high heat for 5 minutes to begin softening them. They will also begin to release some of their moisture.
Then lower the flame to medium-low and allow to cook uncovered, stirring frequently, until the onions are deeply browned and slightly sticky, about 40 minutes. During this process, reduce the heat if the onions are sizzling or scorching or raise the heat if onions are not browning at all after 15 minutes or so. Be sure to check in on the onions and give them a stir every 10 minutes or so. Make sure not to mix the onions too much. You want to make sure they have enough time to chum it up with the heat of the flame so that they start to caramelize. Note: the exact cooking time can vary depending on the size of the onions, their liquid and sugar content, and their age. That’s why it’s important to check in on them regularly.
If you’re like me and fear getting focused on something else I’m doing or preparing and forgetting our dear onion slivers, you’ll set a trusty kitchen timer both to keep you honest and to make sure you actually get to eat the onions without burning them. Took another pix of how it’s starting to look all golden one hour into cooking. Mix well and cook for 5 minutes at a time. Mix well and cook for 5 minutes at a time. The onions are fully caramelized when they develop a molasses-like color and flavor. Then season them with sea salt and fresh-cracked pepper and mix well.
Halfway through cooking the onions, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add a good handful of Kosher salt and then add the pasta and drained chickpeas. Cook following the box instructions of the pasta box. Drain the pasta when it’s comfortable to bite into but still nice and firm. Then add them to the skillet with the caramelized onions and mix very well. Spoon out into individual bowls, add some fresh-cracked pepper and serve.