Caramelized Shallot Pasta


With exam season approaching, the last thing we need is a big fuss in our kitchen. So I promise this recipe will be the easiest and most delicious. Fun fact — this was the first dish I made when I began to dabble in cooking. Something about its simplicity yet intense and complex flavours compelled everyone to go for seconds every time I made it. This is Alison Roman’s caramelized shallot pasta.

Ingredients (shallot paste)

¼ cup olive oil

6-8 large shallots, thinly sliced

4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

Salt and black pepper

Dried red pepper flakes 

12 anchovies 

1 whole tube of tomato paste (Yes. One whole tube)

Ingredients (pasta)

Pasta of choice (I recommend noodle shapes eg; Bucatini, rather than bite-size eg; Penne)

Fresh parsley and basil (finely chopped) 

1 garlic clove (finely chopped or grated)



Slice your shallots and garlic, then start by adding only the shallots to the pan with olive oil. Cook the shallots for 15-20 minutes on medium-high heat until softened and golden. Halfway through the 15-minute mark, add the garlic. Once caramelized, add the tomato paste, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes and anchovies. Add more olive oil if needed, just make sure you add the olive oil after the anchovies since the fillets release oils too. Cook for another 2-3 minutes at medium-low heat until the paste darkens, at which point it has caramelized. The caramelization of the tomato paste is essential to avoid an overwhelmingly acidic taste. Set the paste aside to cool and store it in a container. 

Finely chop your herbs and garlic, and combine the two with salt. This herby and garlicky topping adds a kick of freshness to the dish. Cook your pasta according to the instructions on the box.  

Don’t let the words “caramelized” deceive you into thinking that this is going to be hard. It is so easy to make because your pan and heat are doing most of the work for you! The shallot paste can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. For those 2 weeks, you can spread it on toast, mix it with rice, or scramble with eggs. There is so much you can do with this paste! So, I hope you give this dish a try. Good luck with your exams! 

Here’s Alison Roman’s original recipe