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Linguine with Hot Chile, Caramelized Onion & Gremolata

Scott Phillips

Servings: 4-6

Gremolata—a combination of lemon zest, garlic, and parsley—adds a nice, fresh touch to this and many other dishes. Try sprinkling it on a creamy pasta, risotto, grilled shrimp, sautéed spinach, or steamed green beans.


  • 2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, very thinly sliced
  • 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 serrano or other fresh small, hot red or green chile, seeded and finely diced
  • 4 oz. (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, cut into about 5 pieces
  • 3 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 lb. dried linguine
  • 1/3 cup roughly chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 large clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp. finely chopped lemon zest
  • 1/2 cup grated Pecorino Romano; more for sprinkling

Nutritional Information

  • Nutritional Sample Size based on six servings
  • Calories (kcal) : 500
  • Fat Calories (kcal): 200
  • Fat (g): 23
  • Saturated Fat (g): 12
  • Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 1.5
  • Monounsaturated Fat (g): 7
  • Cholesterol (mg): 45
  • Sodium (mg): 580
  • Carbohydrates (g): 60
  • Fiber (g): 2
  • Protein (g): 12


  • Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil.
  • Meanwhile, heat the oil in a 10-inch skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and red pepper flakes, season with a big pinch of kosher salt, and cook, stirring frequently, until tender and nicely browned, about 15 minutes (reduce the heat to medium low if the onion is browning too fast). Add the chile and continue to cook for 1 minute. Turn off the heat, add the butter, and swirl the pan to melt. Add the lemon juice and another pinch of kosher salt. Keep warm.
  • Cook the linguine in the boiling water until al dente, about 10 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, make the gremolata: Combine the parsley, garlic, and lemon zest on a cutting board and chop them together with a chef’s knife until the parsley is finely chopped and mixed well with the lemon and garlic.
  • Drain the pasta and return it to its cooking pot. Over medium heat, add the onion mixture to the pasta and toss to combine. Add the 1/2 cup Pecorino, quickly toss again, and add salt to taste. Transfer the pasta to a platter or shallow bowls. Sprinkle liberally with the gremolata and more Pecorino and serve.

Serve with crusty garlic bread.


Instead of grating the lemon for the gremolata, use a zester and then finely chop the long strips of zest with a chef’s knife. This zest is a little chunkier and easier to sprinkle.


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Reviews (10 reviews)

  • nk36 | 01/12/2015

    Easy and delicious! Made twice the amount of gremolata because I love the flavors, and added asparagus.

  • Krispie | 12/16/2014

    This was very tasty even without the geremolata. I almost always inadvertently leave off one ingredient or forget to serve one dish at each meal and this time is was the geremolata and we still loved the pasta! Definately a keeper.

  • Nora1979 | 05/02/2013

    Really good, easy recipe. My serrano pepper didn't make it into my grocery bag, so did without and would probably do this way again next time. Maybe just add a little more red pepper flakes since it really wasn't spicy at all without the serrano. Added 10 jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined with the butter, cooked until just pink. Will make again and with the shrimp would serve to guests too. I used a 12 ounce package of fresh linguini, which with the shrimp was three large dinner servings.

  • User avater
    bakesalot | 05/01/2013

    I really like spicy food, but I had to cut back on the heat in this recipe. Chickened out and subbed a jalapeno pepper in place of the hotter serrano, and used just a little over a quarter-teaspoon of red pepper flakesinstead of the half teaspoon. This dish has lots of wonderful layers of flavor and will appear again and again on our supper table. The gremolata is something I knew about for a long time, but somehow had never tried. Now I want to try it to jazz up my asparagus soup, which somehow is always too bland. Also will try on other soups and grilled fish. Definitely need to chop zested lemon peel instead of using a microplane grater (learned that with osso bucco, too).

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