Monday, December 20, 2021


Today's recipe came from Julia who hosts Julia's Album. You can see the original here.  I highly recommend visiting Julia's recipe to see the very interesting information and helpful tips she shares. Plus, I want to make more of her tantalizing recipes.  We gave this a 10 out of 10, most definitely a favorite!  

Farfalle with Spinach, Mushrooms, Caramelized Onions

Serves 4

Caramelized onions:

1 tablespoon olive oil

3 yellow onions, large, sliced

¼ teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

Creamy pasta sauce:

1 tablespoon olive oil

10 oz mushrooms, sliced (I used button mushrooms)

6 oz spinach

1 cup half-and-half

1 cup Parmesan cheese , shredded

¼ teaspoon salt


8 oz farfalle pasta

Caramelize the onions: Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil on medium-high heat in a large skillet. 

Add sliced onions and cook on high heat for about 10 minutes, constantly stirring with the spatula. The onions should be starting to brown. 

Reduce heat to medium and continue cooking the onions for 10 more minutes.  Keep stirring so that onions don't burn.  Add a pinch of salt over onions.

For another 10 minutes continue to cook on medium or low heat.  Stir occasionally so that the onions don't burn and stick to the bottom of the pan.  

The onions should have cooked for 30 minutes.

Remove skillet from the heat and sprinkle onions with a splash of balsamic vinegar to deglaze the pan.

Using a spatula, stir the onions, scraping the bottom of the pan.  Make sure the onions are coated with the balsamic vinegar you have just used. 

Remove these onions and put in a bowl or plate.  Set aside until needed.

Get a pot of water and put on a separate element.  Heat to boiling on high.  This will be for cooking the pasta. I used the back one opposite to what I am using, so that it was out of the way.  I always also turn the handles of my pots away from me, so that I don’t accidentally catch them with an arm.  I know I am preaching to the choir, so to speak, but this is for any new cooks out there.    

Next step, the mushrooms and spinach. 

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in the same skillet on medium heat. 

Add sliced mushrooms. 

Sprinkle with a pinch of salt.

Cook mushrooms for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally until mushrooms are soft.

If the water is boiling at this point, cook the farfalle  pasta according to package directions.  Ours said ten minutes for al dente but we added an extra two minutes to get it to our taste.  It was still al dente.  

When the pasta is cooked, drain thoroughly in a collander.  Put in a bowl and set aside.

Back to the skillet, add the fresh spinach to the mushrooms.  Stir on low heat, just until spinach starts to wilt.

Now make the creamy pasta sauce:

Add half-and-half to the mushroom and spinach mixture and bring to a quick boil. Immediately reduce to a simmer.

Add ⅔ cup of shredded Parmesan cheese and ¼ teaspoon salt. 

Keep stirring on simmer until the cheese melts, which happened almost immediately for us.

Add caramelized onions back to the skillet and mix with the other ingredients.  Make sure the pasta sauce is well combined with the other ingredients.  

Add cooked and drained farfalle pasta to the creamy sauce. Stir on low heat for a couple of minutes to reheat, and to evenly distribute.

Julia's suggestion: if the sauce is too thick, add a small amount of half-and-half to thin it out. If it is too thin, add a small amount of shredded Parmesan cheese, and stir it in, while the sauce simmers.

Serve with additional shredded Parmesan cheese sprinkled on the top.

Julia's useful notes can be read in the original recipe.  

Substitute for half-and-half:  

Use ½ cup of heavy cream + ½ cup of milk instead of 1 cup of half-and-half.

Denise's notes: 

I had no half and half and no heavy cream, so used 1 cup whole milk.  It still tasted very creamy.

Make-ahead tips:  

Also from Julia's Album, you can make caramelized onions ahead of time, refrigerate them in an air-tight container, and use within the next 3 days.  (I will do this next time, making this meal even easier to prepare.)

You can also freeze caramelized onions for up to 2 months and thaw them whenever you need them.

I also enjoyed our host's information on this pasta which reads as follows:

"Farfalle is a bow-tie shaped Italian pasta. Farfalle pasta can also be described as butterfly-shaped pasta. In fact, "farfalle" means "butterflies" in Italian.

Farfalle dates back to the 16th century in Lombardia and Emilia-Romagna Regions in Northern Italy.

Farfalle is often used with cream sauces and in tomato-based sauces.  It is also popular in salads."

If you prefer to cut and paste the recipe, I have left the whole address below.

Very happy with this. We liked that it was meatless, which we are trying more of lately.  It would go well with chicken or seafood, but it was such a comforting and filling meal, we didn't miss it.  

There are also leftovers for tomorrow.  

Thank you Julia's Album for a delicious meal which has gone into our make-again folder.

Thanks for looking, and
have a great week!


  1. It looks wonderful. And your plate is beautiful too.

    1. Thank you Ginny! The plates are relatively new to replace my old ones that had seen better days :)

  2. Replies
    1. Thank you Sue and couldn't agree more on those leftovers :)

  3. Wow. Looks delicious. I did not know about being able to carmelize onions ahead of time & refrigerate. Great tip.

    1. Thanks Anni, you are very welcome. Those caramelized onions were fantastic :)

  4. Hello,
    This meal looks delicious, thanks for sharing the recipe.
    Take care, have a great day and week ahead!
    Merry Christmas to you and your family!

    1. You are very welcome Eileen :) I wish you the same!

  5. Looks like an interesting recipe. I prefer tomato sauce because white sauce is not good for the heart.

    1. Thank you Gigi, I have often replaced cream for 2% milk. Makes it a bit healthier and still tastes great, and it's chock-full of vegetables. Because I am baking for the holidays and it is recommended not to use low-fat in many of the recipes, I splurge and buy whole milk :)

  6. Replies
    1. Muito obrigado. Também gostaria de desejar a você e sua família um Santo Natal.

  7. I have mushrooms and good parmesan cheese I must try due to this 10 out of 10 rating, thank you

    1. I hope it lives up to our 10 out of 10 rating for you Christine. I will keep my fingers crossed :)

  8. I love carmelized onions, so I know I would love this recipe. The addition of balsamic vinegar sounds oh so good!

    1. Thanks Martha Ellen, me too and that balsamic vinegar was a new addition for us :) We would definitely add balsamic to a lot of our vegetable dishes from now on.

  9. This sounds and looks like something I'd like to sink my teeth into!

    1. We will be sinking our teeth into it too very soon Ellen ;) at least after Christmas!

  10. This looks fabulous. You had me at carmalized onions!


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