Caramelized Vidalia Onion Pasta with Herbed Breadcrumbs

Vidalia onion season is super amazing, and this pasta recipe is too.

Caramelized Vidalia Onion Pasta with Herbed Breadcrumbs
Photo: Greg DuPree; Food Styling: Rishon Hanners; Prop Styling: Christina Daley
Active Time:
25 mins
Total Time:
25 mins

Caramelized onions have a unique sweet and savory flavor that always keeps us coming back for more. We love to make a big batch of Slow-Cooker Caramelized Onions to stash in the freezer, reheat, and add to any dish from burgers to sandwiches and even pasta. In this recipe for Caramelized Vidalia Onion Pasta with Herbed Breadcrumbs, caramelized onions form the silky pasta sauce that nobody saw coming.

We like to use bucatini in this recipe, which is slightly thicker than spaghetti and hollow on the inside, making the whole dish feel a touch heartier; however, spaghetti still works great. Caramelized onions, tomato paste, and crushed red pepper form the base of this sauce, which emulsified with reserved pasta water. Just before serving, capers, grated Parmesan, and red wine vinegar add a note of tang and complexity.

Don't skip the herbed breadcrumbs. Tossing the panko with parsley and grated Parmesan seriously upgrades plain breadcrumbs, creating a crispy, crunchy topping to contrast with the tender noodles and onions.


  • 1 pound bucatini or spaghetti

  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

  • ½ cup panko

  • 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt, divided

  • ¼ cup chopped parsley

  • ½ cup grated Parmesan, divided

  • 3 cups Slow-Cooker Caramelized Onions

  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste

  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper

  • ½ cup capers

  • 1 teaspoon sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar


  1. Cook bucatini or spaghetti in boiling salted water according to package directions. Drain; reserve 1 cup cooking water.

  2. Heat extra-virgin olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium. Add panko and ½ tsp. kosher salt; cook, stirring often, until light golden, 2 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in parsley and ¼ cup grated Parmesan. Transfer to a bowl; set aside.

  3. Wipe skillet clean; then return to heat over medium-high. Add Slow-Cooker Caramelized Onions, tomato paste, and crushed red pepper; cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are heated through and tomato paste darkens, 3 minutes.

  4. Add pasta and ½ cup reserved cooking water to skillet; toss to combine. If needed, add up to remaining ½ cup cooking water until desired consistency. Stir in capers, remaining ¼ cup grated Parmesan, remaining 1 tsp. kosher salt, and sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar. Sprinkle with panko mixture.

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