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Gemelli with Asparagus & Caramelized Onions

Scott Phillips

Servings: four.



  • 3 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 lb. pancetta, cut into 1/4-inch dice
  • 1 lb. asparagus, trimmed, peeled if thick, and cut on the diagonal into 2-inch pieces
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black  pepper
  • 3/4 cup (about half a batch) Caramelized Onions
  • 3/4 cup homemade or low-salt chicken  broth
  • 3/4 lb. dried gemelli or penne
  • 3/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano
  • 1 tsp. sherry vinegar or balsamic  vinegar

Nutritional Information

  • Nutritional Sample Size based on four servings
  • Calories (kcal) : 720
  • Fat Calories (kcal): 290
  • Fat (g): 32
  • Saturated Fat (g): 9
  • Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 4
  • Monounsaturated Fat (g): 18
  • Cholesterol (mg): 35
  • Sodium (mg): 1710
  • Carbohydrates (g): 83
  • Fiber (g): 7
  • Protein (g): 29


  • Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil. Meanwhile, put 2 Tbs. of the oil and the pancetta in a 12-inch skillet or sauté pan and cook over medium heat, stirring, until the pancetta begins to brown and renders much of its fat, 5 to 7 min. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the pancetta to a plate lined with paper towels. Raise the heat to medium high, add the asparagus, and season with 1/4 tsp. salt. Stir often until the asparagus starts to brown, about 3 min. Add the caramelized onions and chicken broth, reduce the heat to medium low, cover, and cook until the asparagus is tender, about 4 min. Stir in 1/4 tsp. pepper and set aside in a warm spot.
  • Cook the pasta in the boiling water, stirring often, until it’s just tender, about 11 min. Reserve 1/4 cup of the pasta water. Drain the pasta and add it to the pan with the asparagus. Set the pan over medium-high heat and toss well. Add 1/2 cup of the Parmigiano, the vinegar, and the cooked pancetta and continue cooking, stirring, for 1 min. to meld all the flavors. If the pasta begins to dry, add the reserved pasta water. Serve with a drizzle of the remaining 1 Tbs. olive oil and a sprinkling of the remaining Parmigiano.


Rate or Review


  • gdlohr | 04/11/2014

    Loved this dish. Easy to prepare. Less salt than eating out and a lot cheaper with a distinctive taste. Carmelized onions and balsamic with bacon. Great foundation built on gemilli. Not gourmet, but do I need that every night?

  • omgirl23 | 12/18/2008

    I've made this a dozen or so times and it always turns out fabulous.

  • whatscooking | 05/13/2008

    The printer friendly link button does not work for this recipe.

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