Ziti with Portabella Mushrooms, Caramelized Onions, and Goat Cheese
About 14 years ago, I worked on a yacht that was owned by a prominent businessman who resided in Puerto Rico. He didn’t normally like us to have the boat in San Juan, except when we were bunkering fuel from a barge in the harbor. One time we were in harbor taking on fuel and the day passed quietly enough. At dinner time, I decided to make this simple and tasty dish for just the crew and me. The yacht had a great eat-in galley and table, which is where we took our meals when the yacht Owner was not aboard. We had just sat down to eat, when we hear a “HELLO!” from the side companionway door. It was the yacht Owner! He had uncharacteristically decided to visit (I think hoping to possibly grab some dinner) after a business meeting. His wife was out for the evening and he’d found himself alone for the evening.
He headed towards us following the aromas wafting out of the galley. Of course, we invited him to join us for our humble meal. He had a big grin, and said he’d be honored to join us. God rest his soul, he was a very down to earth man, and was thrilled to have this casual time with his crew.
He loved this pasta dish and personal time with his crew, and asked me if he could possibly take a dish home to his wife. I filled a container after our lovely impromptu dinner with him, and a couple hours later, I got a phone call from his wife, exclaiming how much she enjoyed her surprise dinner and asked if I would make it for the family the following weekend. This pasta recipe became a casual family favorite!
You’ll find the recipe in the RECIPE section … just click on RECIPES above!
It’s a simple and quick dish to make once you’ve caramelized the onions! I have a quick tip for you to make this process not so tedious ….
… and a GREAT Tip for Caramelizing Onions!
I recommend you use Vidalia or other sweet onions. Slice them on the thin side; separate the rings; and place them into a large saucepan with about ½ cup of water to soften and become translucent. Cover with a lid and place the pot on low heat. Leave them alone, stirring only a few times along the process of softening and cooking until they are soft and translucent. This should take about 15 to 20 minutes. Add a little more water if needed, but they should be fine if you keep the heat on low.
Once the onions are soft, transfer them to a large sauté pan with a few pats of butter and about ½ teaspoon sugar if you’d like the caramelized onions to be a little sweeter. Brown the onions slowly, stirring frequently until the onions become golden brown. Add salt and pepper to taste. Easy!