Pasta with slow roasted balsamic onions, juicy sun dried tomatoes and fresh basil, all wrapped in a creamy sauce!

I’m really excited to put this simple and delicious pasta on your radar. I’m certain it’s going to make your regular midweek rotations! Follow me…

caramelised onion pasta in large white bowl on brown chopping board

Oven Caramelised Onions

Slow-roasting onions is an easy way to caramelise them. It’s a fairly hands-off method in comparison to caramelising them in a pan, meaning you don’t need to watch over them and constantly stir them.

How to caramelise onions in the oven

Whilst you can caramelise onions without any extra ammo, I love adding in some balsamic glaze so they go nice and sweet/sticky. Alongside that, I go in with a good amount of olive oil to keep them moist and prevent them from burning, alongside some salt and pepper.

Roasted Garlic

Since roasted garlic goes hand in hand with caramelised onions, it’d be rude not to roast up some up alongside the onions. I originally tried roasting the garlic in with the onions, but it never properly caramelised due to the excess steam from the onions. It caramelises much more efficiently wrapped in foil outside the baking dish.

Low ‘n’ Slow

With both caramelised onions and roasted garlic, it’s important to make sure you cook them low and slow to tickle out their natural sugars. Don’t rush this process otherwise, they will both end up far too pungent. The flavours should transform into something far more subtle and sweet.

Process shots: add sliced onions to baking dish (photo 1), add olive oil, balsamic glaze, salt and pepper (photo 2), toss (photo 3), add foil and bake (photo 4), slice garlic and drizzle in oil (photo 5), wrap in foil and bake (photo 6). 

6 step by step photos showing how to make caramelised onions in the oven

Caramelised Onion Pasta

The caramelised onions and roasted garlic make a lovely base for this dish, but we’re going to add in some extra goodies:

  • Sun Dried Tomatoes – These add a good punch of tangy flavour that balances out the sweetness of the onions and garlic.
  • Basil – Pairs beautifully with the tomatoes and balsamic onions.
  • Mascarpone – Creates a creamy sauce.
  • Parmesan – Adds flavour and highlights the ‘cheesy’ aspect of the mascarpone.

The beauty of this recipe is you can mix everything in the baking dish. The residual heat will melt the cheese to form the sauce.

Starchy Pasta Water

This is a key ingredient in creating a creamy, glossy sauce. You’ll need to add in a splash to form the sauce and more from there to thin out as needed. Just make sure the pasta water is well-seasoned so you don’t dilute the flavour of the sauce.

Process shots: remove foil (photo 1), add mascarpone, roasted garlic and sun dried tomatoes (photo 2), mix with pasta water (photo 3), stir in cooked pasta, basil and parmesan (photo 4).

4 step by step photos showing how to make caramelised onion pasta

Caramelised Onion Pasta FAQ

What kind of pasta should I use?

Any shortcut pasta will do the trick – here I use Farfalle.

How do I prevent the onions from burning?

Don’t be tempted to crank up the heat, low and slow is the key. You’ll also want to toss the onions 2-3 times during baking. You can check to see if they’re burning and if they look like they’re starting to char just decrease the oven temp slightly.

Is there anything else I could add to this dish?

Chicken goes nicely! I haven’t tried it, but I imagine sausage would go nicely too.

close up shot of caramelised onion pasta in large white baking dish with black serving spoon

Serving Caramelised Onion Pasta

You want to work fairly quickly as you mix everything in the baking dish so it all stays hot. From there, you can serve with some extra parmesan and basil if you fancy!

Alrighty, let’s tuck into the full recipe for this caramelised onion pasta shall we?!

close up shot of caramelised onion pasta in large white bowl

How to make Caramelised Onion Pasta (Full Recipe & Video)

close up shot of caramelised onion pasta in large white bowl


Delicious Caramelised Onion Pasta

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Pasta with slow roasted balsamic onions, juicy sun-dried tomatoes and fresh basil, all wrapped in a creamy sauce!
Course Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine Italian, Western
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 705kcal
Cost £2 / $2.50


  • Sharp Knife & Chopping Board
  • Large Baking Dish (mine is 12×9" / 30x22cm)
  • Tongs
  • Aluminium Foil
  • Large Pot & Colander (for boiling pasta)
  • Spatula


  • 1lb / 500g White Onions, thinly sliced (approx 3 large)
  • 1/4 cup / 60ml Olive Oil
  • 2 tbsp Balsamic Glaze
  • 1/4 tsp EACH: Salt, Black Pepper (plus more to taste)
  • 1 bulb of Garlic
  • 12.3oz / 350g Shortcut Pasta (here I use Farfalle)
  • 125g / 4.4oz Sun Dried Tomatoes, diced
  • 1 small bunch of Fresh Basil, finely diced (1 small bunch is 30g/1oz)
  • 150g / 5.3oz Mascarpone
  • 30g / 1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan, plus more to serve if desired


  • Preheat the oven to 180C/350F.
  • In a large baking dish add the sliced onion, olive oil, balsamic glaze, salt and pepper. Give it all a really good toss until everything is evenly distributed. Cover with foil and place in the oven for 1 hour and 10-15 minutes, or until the onions are very soft, sticky and sweet. Take them out a couple of times during to toss (this is important to release steam and prevent the ones on the outside from burning).
  • Slice the tip of the garlic to expose the cloves then drizzle with oil. Wrap in foil then place in the oven for 1 hour, or until deep golden, sticky and soft. Check progress after 45-50 minutes.
  • Towards the end of baking, add your pasta to salted boiling water and cook until al dente. Drain, reserving a cup of the pasta water.
  • When the baking dish is freshly hot out the oven, squeeze the garlic into the onions and mash it up, then mix in the sun dried tomatoes and mascarpone alongside a splash of the pasta water. Stir in the cooked pasta until combined then stir in the parmesan and basil, using more pasta water to thin out the sauce at any point if needed.
  • Season with a good pinch of salt and pepper to bring out the best in this simple sauce (work to taste), then serve up with more parmesan if desired and enjoy!



a) Caramelised Onion & Garlic – Low and slow is key to enhance the natural sweetness of the onion and garlic. Don’t rush this process, otherwise they will both be too pungent. If you notice either starting to burn before they caramelise, just lower the heat slightly. The onions should end up very tender and a little sticky. The garlic should be buttery soft, golden and have a lovely nutty smell to it.

b) Timings – Timings may differ slightly so just be vigilant throughout. The garlic will almost certainly be ready before the onions. Another reminder to toss the onions 2-3 times during so they don’t burn and you can allow some steam to escape. Make sure you work fairly quickly when you combine everything so the baking dish stays nice and hot.

c) Pasta Water – This is a key ingredient in creating a creamy, glossy sauce. Just make sure the pasta water is well-seasoned so you don’t dilute the flavour of the sauce.

d) Seasoning – This is quite a subtle sauce, so be sure to season it well to bring out the best in it.

e) Serving/Protein – This dish is pretty hearty as it is, but some grilled/pan-fried chicken is a great addition. Whilst I haven’t tried it myself, I imagine sausage would pair perfectly too.

f) Calories –  Whole recipe divided by 4.

g) Inspiration – Adapted from a recipe I spotted from Dr Vegan!


Calories: 705kcal | Carbohydrates: 100.56g | Protein: 17.15g | Fat: 29.21g | Saturated Fat: 10.169g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3.102g | Monounsaturated Fat: 14.044g | Trans Fat: 0.072g | Cholesterol: 40mg | Sodium: 536mg | Potassium: 1565mg | Fiber: 14.7g | Sugar: 20.02g | Vitamin A: 1200IU | Vitamin C: 20.2mg | Calcium: 173mg | Iron: 4.82mg

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