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Whole-Wheat Pasta with Pecorino and White Wine-Onion Sauce

4 to 6 Servings

40 minutes

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This simple pasta dish stars barely caramelized onions simmered in white wine, tangy pecorino Romano, black pepper and dried oregano for earthy, herbal contrast. It’s inspired by a Pugliese classic traditionally made with sweet Italian Tropea onions, a version of which chef Filippo Guarera prepared for us at his restaurant Osteria del Cardinale in Campagnano di Roma, about 30 minutes north of Rome. Cooking the onions until tender and just beginning to brown boosts their sweetness, providing a perfect counterpoint to the sharp, salty cheese. We added lemon zest to bring citrusy brightness to the sauce. After trying the dish with a handful of pasta types, we found that hearty whole-wheat noodles were our favorite; their nuttiness complements the onions, cheese and oregano. We preferred the short, chunky shape of penne, which gave the dish some heft; fusilli works, too, though we found that the spirals sometimes broke apart as they cooked in the sauce.

4 to 6



Don’t hold back when vigorously stirring and tossing the pasta after adding the cheese. This ensures the cheese melts quickly and evenly to create a silky, clingy sauce.

40 minutes


  • cup extra-virgin olive oil

  • 1

    pound yellow or white onions, halved and sliced about ⅛ inch thick


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Chris W.
January 24, 2024
Cheese stuck to pot
I enjoyed this recipe, though every time I add cheese, it always sticks to the pot. How do I prevent this? I do have a teflon pot I can try next time though I have this problem every time you add grated cheese. What is the secret Chris????
Meta C.
December 21, 2023
Pleasant but Unexciting
This was good but can't say I was blown away. Made it exactly as instructed.