In 2020 the Alison Roman Shallot Pasta recipe went viral, receiving over 14,000 votes on NYT cooking, which resulted in half of instagram trying out the caramelized shallot pasta.
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I think this budget shallot pasta recipe went viral for many reasons, as this recipe was adored by so many people because it uses such a small number of ingredients, mostly pantry staple ingredients, that come together to have such a powerful flavour.
The shallot paste used to finish the recipe with, before adding to pasta, can be used in multiple recipes. You can spread it on toast, add it into a salad dressing, serve directly into salad and serve on pizza etc.
I’ve tweaked the recipe slightly to make it more budget-friendly and switched up the quantities to make this caramelized shallot pasta a bit more BTB.
We use more shallots than Alison in this recipe as I find that most supermarkets sell bags weighing around 300g. You might think one bag is enough, but I chose to go with two bags at 600g. The sweetness of the caramelized shallots is what makes this recipe so unique, so I went for double the quantity.
I think this recipe can take a lot of garlic. I used 5 cloves with one clove to top, but adjust this depending on your garlic preference.
I like to think of this recipe as a gateway anchovy recipe. We use ¼ of the amount of anchovies that Alison does as I’m using super cheap anchovies – which are really rich and umami packed but I think slightly stronger than the higher quality anchovies that she uses. This recipe does not taste fishy or like anchovies – trust me on this one!
You can pair this Alison roman shallot pasta recipe with any pasta shape you like. Alison uses bucatini, but as I’m trying to make this recipe more budget friendly, I’ve gone for the budget spaghetti as you can get it for around 30p!
Essential for the depth in flavour of this recipe. We use a whole tube of tomato puree, which is not only super satisfying, but perfect to minimise waste!
See the recipe card for full information on all ingredients and quantities.
3. Finely slice the shallots (Image 3).
4. Fry gently and sweat the onions for around 10 minutes (Image 4).
5. Then add the garlic, anchovies, red pepper/chilli flakes, parsley stems and tomato paste into the pan. At the same time, add the spaghetti to heavily salted pasta water. Set your timer to 2 minutes minus the packet time (Image 5).
6. Continue to fry on a medium/low heat for another 8 minutes, stirring frequently and the paste will darken and the onions will caramelize fully (Image 6).
7. Transfer the undercooked pasta into the pan along with 2 ladles of pasta water (Image 7).
8. Mix the spaghetti with the tomatoey shallot sauce. Serve this Alison Roman pasta recipe with finely chopped garlic/fresh parsley (Image 8).
To make ahead of time
The caramelized shallot paste is perfect to make ahead, as you can store it in a jar and keep it in the fridge for up to a month.
To meal prep
You can also combine the paste with the pasta and divide the finished recipe into meal prep containers. I also steam some broccoli and divide that into the containers too. Store the parsley separately.
When it’s time to reheat the pasta, add 1 tbsp of water into the meal prep container and reheat in the microwave on high for two minutes. Remove from the microwave and stir. Season with salt and pepper and top with the parsley/garlic mix.
Take your time to slowly caramelise the shallots, as the slow cooking allows the shallots to release their natural sugars and develop a rich, sweet flavor.
Towards the end of caramelising onions, add a pinch of salt, pepper and red pepper flakes to the shallots for added depth of flavor. Adjust the seasoning according to your taste preferences.
Always remove a few ladles of pasta water before draining the pasta, this will help create your silky sauce.
I added fresh parsley, but feel free to add your favorite herb and garnishes.
Other shallot using recipes… 10 Minute Vegetable Noodle Soup, 10 Minute Naan Bread Pizza and Swedish Gravy Spaghetti with Pork and Courgette Meatballs
Yes! Alison recommends using a longer pasta shape so preferably spaghetti, linguine, tagliatelle, bucatini etc, but I’d say you can use any shape that you feel like.
You can, but I’d recommend reducing the quantity slightly as white/red onions are stronger and less sweet than shallots. I would recommend 2 onions if you’re subbing out the shallots. If you can though, try and stick with the shallots as it’s their sweetness that really makes this dish a 10/10.
I promise you that you won’t even realise they’re in this recipe. The recipe isn’t fishy at all, the anchovies just provide a salty umami boost and as they’re gently fried along with all of the other ingredients, they disintegrate into the sauce so you won’t see any visible anchovy bits.
1 month in a jar in the fridge.
If you tried this Caramelized Shallot Pasta recipe, it would be mean so much to me if you could leave a review & a star rating to let me know how you found it! I love hearing about your experiences – it motivates me to keep creating more and more recipes for you guys 💛 Let’s get cooking! – Mimi x