Overhead shot of a couple bowls of caramelized shallot pasta with a for in the bowl, garnished with lemon zest and bread crumbs.

Why I love this caramelized shallot pasta

This recipe is a riff on an old recipe from Blue Apron for Meyer lemon pasta that we made ages ago, and I’ve made it more shallot-centric and went with a more readily available lemons.

Instead of cheese, this recipe is topped with crispy, seasoned breadcrumbs. I used a combination of dairy free breadcrumbs and Panko, and seasoned them with garlic powder and a pinch of salt. If you can’t find dairy free breadcrumbs, you can always make homemade bread crumbs from a safe bread.

Close up of a bowl of caramelized shallot pasta garnished with breadcrumbs, fresh herbs and lemon zest.

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Here’s what you’ll need to make it

How to make caramelized shallot pasta

Make the breadcrumbs. Heat a skillet to medium-low. Add the breadcrumbs, garlic powder and salt. Let them toast in the pan until they’re nice and golden brown. Be sure to stir pretty frequently to prevent them from burning.

Boil the pasta. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. You can do this while you caramelize the shallots to save time.

When the water is boiling, add a heaping tablespoon of coarse salt to the water and cook the pasta to al dente according to the directions on its package. Reserve 1 cup of the pasta water before draining the pasta.

Caramelize the shallots. Heat your pan to medium. Add the olive oil and let it get hot before adding the shallots. When you put them in, season with a pinch of salt and a tablespoon of brown sugar.

Then, slowly let them cook. Don’t stir too frequently, but move them around just before they start to burn and continue doing this until they shallots are nice and soft and their color has changed.

Close up of caramelized shallot pasta in a large skillet with a wooden spoon.

Make the sauce. Add the garlic and rushed red pepper flakes to the shallots and sauté until fragrant. Then stir in the lemon juice and zest.

If you need to, add a splash of water every now and then to keep them moistened. You can even use a bit of pasta water directly from the pot for this.

Toss the pasta. Stir about 1/2 cup pasta water into to the pan with the shallots and stir until a thin sauce forms. Then, add the spaghetti to the pan and toss to coat, adding more pasta water as needed until the pasta is completely coated in sauce. I normally use about 3/4 – 1 cup of pasta water, but it can vary depending on the pasta, so use your best judgement.

Garnish and serve. Sprinkle with fresh parsley and serve the pasta with the toasted breadcrumbs and your favorite dairy free cheese (if desired).

Close up of caramelized lemon shallot pasta in a bowl, topped with breadcrumbs, fresh herbs and lemon zest.

FAQs and tips on making caramelized shallot pasta

Why are my shallots bitter?

The key to preventing your shallots from becoming bitter is to make sure you don’t over cook them, low and slow will do it.

What is so great about shallots?

Shallots have a lighter and sweeter taste than onions. You can substitute shallots in a lot of recipes that call for onions, but they are closest in flavor to a sweet onion.

Should you refrigerate shallots?

You can store uncooked shallots just like you would onions, in a cool, dark and preferably dry place. They should last for about 1-2 months depending on how and where you store them.

Overhead shot of a bowl of caramelized shallot pasta garnished with breadcrumbs, fresh herbs and lemon zest.

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Caramelized Shallot Pasta

This caramelized shallot pasta recipe is unique and flavorful with featuring zesty lemon and topped with seasoned toasted breadcrumbs and fresh herbs. It’s a simple, yet impressive dish that’s perfect for any night of the week.

  • Author: Melissa Belanger
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 6 1x
  • Category: Main Course
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Italian
  • Diet: Vegan

Ingredients

Scale
  • 2/3 cup breadcrumbs (traditional or Panko)*
  • 1/8 teaspoon granulated garlic
  • Coarse salt, as needed
  • 1 pound package spaghetti
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 46 shallots, thinly sliced (about 2 cups)
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 lemons, juiced and zested (2 tablespoons zest and 1/2 cup juice)

Instructions

  1. Cook pasta according to package directions in a large pot of salted water. Reserve 1 cup pasta water before draining.
  2. In a large skillet, heat breadcrumbs and garlic over medium high heat. Cook, stirring frequently, until breadcrumbs are golden brown in color. Transfer to a plate.
  3. Add olive oil, shallots, salt and sugar to the skillet. Sauté, stirring occasionally until shallots are translucent and soft, about 10 minutes.
  4. Add garlic, crushed red pepper and cook for an additional minute.
  5. Stir in lemon juice and zest. Reduce heat to low and keep warm until pasta is cooked.
  6. Add 1/2 cup pasta water to the pan and stir until a thin sauce forms.
  7. Transfer pasta to the pan and toss to coat, adding additional pasta water if needed.
  8. Garnish with fresh parsley and serve with toasted breadcrumbs.

Notes

*Be sure to use dairy free breadcrumbs.

Keywords: shallot pasta, caramelized shallot pasta, lemon spaghetti, breadcrumb pasta, lemon pasta, vegan pasta

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