I love caramelized onions. Like, really, really love them. If they knew how much, they’d probably take out a restraining order. The only reason I don’t eat them morning, noon and night is because my husband is a recent arrival to the onion party (which is a mystery to me, because remember the cabbage party? THIS is the onion party) and is still made slightly uncomfortable by the sight of onions so defiantly alone and reveling in their onion-ness.
That said, this dish tastes about a hundred thousand times better than it looks in the picture. I can’t believe how much flavor tangy yogurt brings out in caramelized onions. I really couldn’t stand the “it tastes like candy” ploy as a kid—nothing ever, ever tasted like candy, except for candy—but against the backdrop of yogurt and spinach, these onions really do. I swear.
The spinach is totally optional, by the way, but I felt it needed some greenery.
This makes 4 servings for very hungry people; 5 or 6 for polite appetites.
• 1 lb. gemelli, also apparently known as OMG MAKE IT GO AWAY SCARY TWISTS OF DEATH*: 79 cents
• 2 cups Greek yogurt: $1.50
• 6 cups chopped onions: $1
• 1 cup grated Parmesan: $1
• 1/2 bunch spinach: 50 cents
• Salt and pepper to taste: 2 cents
• 5 T olive oil: 28 cents
TOTAL: $5.10/4 = $1.27/serving
*Apparently this was not very popular as a store-branded item in Jewel supermarkets, which exist only in the Midwest, so it somehow ended up on the shelves of a Grocery Outlet in Portland, Oregon. There is absolutely nothing wrong with the packaging or the expiration date. Exactly the kind of sociological discovery that endears me to Grocery Outlet in the first place.
Heat 5 T olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onions, reduce the heat to medium-low and cook slowly for about an hour, stirring often, until onions are totally soft and brown. They’re getting very close at left.
If the spinach needs to be cleaned and de-stemmed, do so.
Mix the yogurt with salt and pepper to taste, and a dash or two of lemon juice if you have it.
When the onions are close, boil a large pot of highly salted water and cook the pasta until al dente, just a couple minutes short of the package directions. Right before draining the pasta, blanch the spinach in the pasta water to wilt it. Drain the pasta, reserving a small amount of the pasta water. Return the pasta to the pot and add the yogurt and a little bit of pasta water to loosen the texture, if necessary. Salt to taste.
Serve the pasta with the spinach, cheese, and caramelized onions however you wish (layered, mixed in, etc.).