Orecchiette alle Cipolle {Orecchiette Pasta with Onions}

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You might not be so familiar with this type of Pasta, but you should be! Just because if nothing else it’s incredibly cute & well it goes perfect with sauces! Orecchiette is a type of pasta that is native to the Apulia region of Italy (located in the heel of the boot). The shape of this pasta looks like a small ear. No surprise that in Italian the word for ear is Orecchio. So Orecchiette translated means little ears. Orecchiette (ore-ay-key-et-ay) alle Cipolle (chi-pole-ay) is simply little ears with Onions. Yes, not so appetizing once translated into English, as always, everything sounds so much nicer in Italian! So we’re going with the Italian name. I’ve been telling you this forevah – LOL. Ah, quanto che amo L’Italiano! : )

I can find this pasta in my super Tar-jay so if you don’t have it in your local grocery check there.

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I know you’re thinking she’s lost her mind again, that’s A LOT of Onions! Yes, it is! It’s 3-4 REALLY BIG onions. That’s a lot of chopping, so go ahead and prepare to cry! And whatever you do, please keep an eye on them while they’re cooking. You don’t want to burn them because that would mean you gotta start all ova again! & I know you’re eyes don’t want that. Not to mention you’ll have to wait longer to enjoy this deliciousness.

Prepare yourself, it’s going to look like way too many onions when it’s first in the pan, BUT fear not, it has to cook for 30 minutes so it will cook down to a nice little pile (nothing like the heap you start with). I wouldn’t steer you wrong! Oh how I LOVE the smell of onions sauteing! There’s just something so satisfying about that smell! I won’t tell if you take a fork and have a bite when they’re done. I know I can’t help myself!

Can you smell it already? Go ahead get your Cinnamon Altoids ready, you’re gonna need ‘em!

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What you’ll need:
450g of Orecchiette Pasta
700g of Onions – chopped fine
4 tbsp of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
4 tbsp of Heavy Whipping Cream
50g of Pecorino Cheese – Grated
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What to do:
In a large saute pan, add your olive oil & onions. Over med-low heat cook onions for approx 15 minutes. Stirring often. About 10 minutes into cooking onions, put a large pot of water onto boil for pasta. Season well with salt. At the end of the 15 minutes, season the onions well with s/p. Reduce heat to LOW and continue cooking for additional 15 minutes. Stirring Frequently. You will add the cream to mixture at the end of onion cook time. (NOTE: if you like your mixture a little creamier add more cream) WHEN the water is boiling add the pasta, stir & cook until al dente. Approx 12 minutes (taste to check). When pasta is ready, drain & add to the onion mixture. Stir. Check for seasoning, add salt if necessary. Add in your cheese. Stir & serve immediately.

Buon Appetito!

Goes great with:
A loaf of great bread to sop up all of that creamy oniony goodness!

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48 Comments

  1. 1

    This looks absolutely delicious! I love the creaminess and the short list of ingredients. Looks wonderful!

    • 1.1

      Thanks Rachael! I think I actually made this 3 x’s in the past 2 weeks. Just love it!

  2. 2

    I’d love to try this lovely ears with lots of creamy sauce.

  3. 3

    I AM familiar with that type of pasta, and love it :) Thank you for sharing another great meal!

  4. 4

    Sounds simple and good! I love sauteed onions when they’re just perfectly golden-brown. Orecchiette is a very lovely sort of pasta as well, I love thair shape. I wonder what Pecorino cheese is like?.. Could you suggest a nice substitute please? Thank you!

    • 4.1

      Ciao Alina! Pecorino is an Italian hard cheese made with sheep’s milk. You can substitute Parmigiano Reggiano if you can’t find any Pecorino!

  5. 5
    COZY KITCHEN BY THE SEA /

    PASTA……..oooh how I love pasta ! I adore your blog :)
    thanks for the message at tasty kitchen :)

    • 5.1

      Ciao! Thanks so much for stopping by. Obviously I’m crazy about Pasta as well ;)

  6. 6

    This looks absolutely mouthwatering, Paula! I love Orecchiette. It is one of my all time fav. pastas

    • 6.1

      Hi Miranda! It’s so much fun isn’t it? They’re the perfect shape for catching all that delicious sauce!

  7. 7

    yumm! I love simple pasta dishes because they always succeed in satisfying our taste buds and tummies

    • 7.1

      Thanks Jessie! I agree. Beautiful food doesn’t have to be complicated ;)

  8. 8

    I love pasta and I love this one. With a short list of ingredients but with a flavorful result, why not? Thanks.

    • 8.1

      Ciao Divina! You can’t go wrong with Pasta. The simplest recipes are some of my most favorite.

  9. 9

    Your pasta looks delicious… I love orecchiette – it’s one of my favorites! I love how the sauce settles into the little pockets in the pasta. Yum!

    • 9.1

      Thanks Jen! So glad to see so many Orecchiette lovers! It is the perfect sauce catcher!

  10. 10

    This looks great! So yummy, thanks for sharing :)

  11. 11

    LOVE orecchiette! And who can argue with all those caramelized onions & cream? Seriously. Nice match with the Pecorino!

    • 11.1

      Thanks Lo! I love Pecorino and it goes extremely well with the cream & onions! I always have Pecorino, Parmigiano & Grana on hand but also have lately been using Fontina which is quite nice as well. I have a cheese problem I think LOL

  12. 12

    The heck with the diet! I need this dish with the heavy cream and grated cheese. I can taste it! Mouth watering photos too! Love it!

    • 12.1

      Thanks Chuck! Yes, I find dieting doesn’t work for me. I just choose to exercise so that I can eat more LOL

  13. 13

    I LOVE Orecchiette among all other types of pasta. It used to be tortellini, but after a while, they just got too hearty for my tummy. I’m so used to making Orecchiette in Aglio Olio style, with LOTS of chillies, but I sure am gonna try this one! Thanks for sharing!

    • 13.1

      Thanks Tev! I go through my favorites too. Luckily there are SO many types of pastas that you can shake things up a lot!

  14. 14

    This sounds lovely…I prefer a white sauce over red sauce any day…I know I’m the odd man out. I love onions and the aromas in your home when you saute them. It used to be my “call” to my boys…that and bacon cooking…put them in a pan and fry them up and my boys would come from everywhere…into the kitchen they’s run…if they were in bed sleeping in…which was the norm for teenage boys…they’d be up in five and asking me what I was cooking. Still love to cook for them when they are home…miss my boys! Thanks for sharing, Roberta

    • 14.1

      Thanks Roberta! What a sweet comment. I have a girl & 2 boys and know I will feel the same way when they’re grown. They already come running when they smell things. Does a heart good!

  15. 15

    Yum! This looks fabulous!

    • 15.1

      Thanks so much Jessica! I actually have some leftovers that I’ll be enjoying for lunch today. I just add a little cream when reheating & it’s good as new!

  16. 16

    oooh how I love pasta in creamy sauces. This looks fantastic!

  17. 17

    oh cool pasta where can i get it, oh lots of onions yummy, will tweet

    • 17.1

      Thanks Rebecca! Yes, there are tons of Onions which make it so tasty! I find the Orecchiette at my local Super Target. In their Archer Farms speciality Pasta section. :)

  18. 18

    Oh yum! This is one of my favorite types of pasta to eat and this is the perfect recipe for it!

    • 18.1

      Thanks Gina! I really am SO happy to hear that so many love the Orecchiette shape!

  19. 19

    Hi, Paula :)

    I love simple pasta dish like this, I find them sometimes more delicious than complicated ones.. Thanks for sharing your recipes, I’ll try to find orecchiette and sample this recipe..I love onions too so I really think I’m gonna love this dish. SAved it.

    • 19.1

      Thanks Olive! I completely agree! Yes simple doesn’t have to mean bland or boring!

  20. 20

    I don’t know if my first comment went through (sorry for posting twice)

    I love your recipe, I saved it. it’s simple and you make it sound easy to prepare, I’ m going to look for some orecchiette and give this a try :)

    Thanks for sharing!

    • 20.1

      Ciao Olive – you can post as many times you u like ;) I found my Orecchiette at my local Super Target in their Archer Farms Pasta Section. If not a speciality food store would surely have them. So glad you liked it. Let me know how it turns out! Mwah!

  21. 21

    Oh man this looks lik it is to die for! I really love how your page has evolved! Everything is looking great!

    • 21.1

      Thanks so much Frank! I really appreciate that. It’s a labor of love (as I’m sure you know!) Congrats again on your 200th post! How awesome!

  22. 22

    This looks delicious! Definitely bookmarking it for when I can find orecchiette here in Kentucky!

  23. 23

    this looks so simple and at the same time so great thanks for the sharing !!

    Today this is French “Haute couture ” in my cuisine ! so come and see me see you !!! Pierre

    • 23.1

      Ciao Pierre! Thank you so much! Yes, it is quite simple but oh so scrumptious! Grazie!

  24. 24
    Heather /

    Hi Paula!
    Love your site. I’ve made several pasta dishes & they’ve all been amazing (lobster fra diavolo OMG!).
    What onions are best for this – sweet, Spanish or yellow?

    • 24.1

      Hi Heather! Thank you so much, I’m so glad you’ve like everything! I use regular yellow onions for this one.

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