Caramelized Onion Pasta with Edamame and Mint: Radically Simple

Carmelized Onion Pasta~ A Stack of Dishes

If you know me at all you know that I am a real cookbook hound. I might be able to trace the start back to when I was a kid during a birthday pool party. I probably was about 9, and in those days we played games. The winners of each game got to pick a grab bag gift. My pull that day was a copy of Fanny Farmer’s cookbook.

You would think that a book given to a chlorine soaked little girl on a glorious summer afternoon would have been a buzz kill. Instead I turned the book over and over in sheer delight and amazement. I never had my own cookbook before- and don’t you know I sat right down poolside and started to thumb through it. There were recipes for cookies and candies and other treats. The potential in those pages astounded me- even as a young girl.

To me cookbooks are treasure chests. They should be delved into and perused. I am also quite sure that I am not alone in partaking in the joy of reading a cookbook like a novel. Weekly the pile by my bedside grows taller and more rickety until I gather them all into my arms and return them to the shelves like errant children. Some sneak it back on a regular basis, such as the book that this recipe came from: Radically Simple by Rozanne Gold.

Radically Simple Cookbook ~A Stack of Dishes

Rozanne and I share some mutual friends, and I’ve had the pleasure of speaking with her a few times over the years. Rozanne is a beautiful tall woman who commands herself with simple elegance and grace- very much like her recipes. She’s a four time James Beard Award winner, and recipient of the Julia Child/IACP award. At 23 she was chef to Mayor Ed Koch, and was executive chef to Lord & Taylor, Baum + Whiteman, The Rainbow Room, Windows on the World and Hudson River Club. Rozanne has written for countless periodicals, and is the author of 13 cookbooks. Her books include the acclaimed 1-2-3 series, which was the impetus for the minimalist column in the NY Times. However, one of the most endearing facts about Rozanne is that she purchased the defunct Gourmet Magazine’s 3500 cookbook library and donated it to New York University in honor of her mother- who encouraged her to be a chef at a time when it was unheard of for a woman to hold such positions in professional kitchens.

Her recipes in Radically Simple really speak to me in that they are elegant without a lot of fuss. Using a few ingredients with the right balance and well executed cooking techniques, she makes it possible for the home cook to come off like a pro. I also highly recommend giving this book to the young cook who is looking to entertain with ease and success.

I will also share with you that when I last moved it was one of three cookbooks that I kept from the boxes and used regularly during those first days in my new place. It’s a very user friendly and inspiring book- it’s the type of cookbook you’ll want to keep by your side.

Caramelized Onion Pasta~ A Stack of Dishes

With Rozanne’a permission I have recreated one of her recipes here. In place of peas I used edamame which I had on hand, and had to opt for spaghetti as my choice of pasta. Neither were a detriment to the recipe.

This dish is a gorgeous balance of the earthy umami taste of caramelized onions with the round acidity of white balsamic vinegar. The mint gives it an herbaceous high note to finish it off. Add this to  your list of meatless meals.

Caramelized Onion Pasta with Edamame and Mint
A hearty earthy pasta dish, great for any meatless meal.
182 calories
14 g
0 g
13 g
4 g
2 g
158 g
247 g
6 g
0 g
10 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
Amount Per Serving
Calories 182
Calories from Fat 116
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 13g
Saturated Fat 2g
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 9g
Cholesterol 0mg
Sodium 247mg
Total Carbohydrates 14g
Dietary Fiber 4g
Sugars 6g
Protein 4g
Vitamin A
Vitamin C
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
  1. 4 large yellow onions, about 1 1/2 pounds
  2. 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  3. 12 ounces spaghetti- or other past of choice
  4. 1 cup frozen edamame (or peas)
  5. 3 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
  6. 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  7. 1 cup coarsely chopped fresh mint
  8. 1/3 cup freshly grated Parmigianno-Reggiano- plus extra for shaving
  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
  2. Cut the onions in half through the roots. With cut side down, slice longwise (not semi-circles).
  3. Heat the oil in a large skillet over high heat. Add the onion and cook while stirring until dark brown, about 15 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, cook the pasta until tender, about 10 minutes- adding the edamame halfway through. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup of the pasta water.
  5. Add the vinegar and fish sauce to the onions and cook for 2 minutes. Add the drained pasta and peas, cooking water, mint and grated cheese. Cook stirring for 2 minutes until heated through.
  6. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  7. Divide evenly between 6 bowls and garnish with shaved cheese on top.
Adapted from Radically Simple
Adapted from Radically Simple
A Stack of Dishes

Roasted Acorn Squash with Grilled Tofu and Quinoa {And My New Approach to Change}

Welcome to the New Year! I too have joined the masses of the “New Year, new me” campaign. I will not bore you with my enthusiastic promises and misty eyed visions of the improved me- but rather I wanted to share with you my new approach.

Are you like me? I get all jazzed up and rally myself to take on my new improved way of life. I start quick out of the box, full of determination and vigor, and then in short order start stumbling and tripping, and eventually face plant into a heap. The result is another year goes by and nothing has changed. *sigh*

So now that I know what doesn’t work, I decided to try a new approach. The truth be told I’ve been incorporating my new concept since my last birthday, 2 months ago, and it’s been working very well. The inspiration for this really came from my pal, Winnie, from Healthy Green Kitchen. The idea is not to attempt a total makeover- but to focus on one small positive thing I can do for myself, at least once a week. If I can add one positive small shift a week, by the end of the year I would have made 52 easy and gentle improvements. Isn’t that an amazing thought?!!

I say banish self control! Do away with the struggle and the guilt!

*Just do one small good and nice thing for yourself a week* Now isn’t that so much nicer? And even if I don’t compile 52 changes, at least I’m moving in the right direction.

To give an example: I have reduced the amount of sweeteners in my latte and drinks by a bunch. No real science, I’ve just dialed it down by a small amount and I continue to do that each week. The result is I have lowered my sweetness threshold without my really noticing. I’m a little concerned about putting chemicals into my body, as well as natural sugar, but I really love sweet so much! So a smidge of change over time and now I am at about half of what I was consuming 2 months ago.

Another small change I’ve made is to eat one or two more pieces of fruit a week- in my case specifically, citrus. In the past I would run out and fill a beautiful bowl of fruited bounty, all gung-ho about it. The result would be a slow degradation of my display into a wrinkly and mossy science project. The worst part is the double guilt that the sad display taunts me with- both the failed attempt at my new “way” and the terrible waste of good food.

Instead I’ve taken to buying one or two oranges and then I eat them! I don’t keep them in a pretty bowl on the counter, because it turns out I like mine cold. I perch them on the shelf in the fridge so they are right there when I open the door. This way, when I go foraging for that afternoon pick-me-up snack, my orange is right there for the grabbing.

They say that it takes 3 weeks to create a new habit and I can attest that this is true for me.

The recipe I have for you today is a delicious and healthy meatless meal. I love this dish and often make several at a time and freeze them. They reheat beautifully. The squash is Vitamin A rich, there is great protein in the quinoa and tofu, and there are healthy complex carbs and lovely fiber.

I’ve gotten word back that not everyone is keen on quinoa or can readily find it. Feel free to switch it with Amaranth- HA! just kidding-That’s another grain I’ll be getting to in the near future- You can exchange any other grain or rice that you prefer, and leftovers are perfect.

Roasted Acorn Squash with Grilled Tofu and Quinoa
This dish looks complicated but it really is not. Make extra and freeze for another day.
serves 6
3 medium sized acorn squash
2c of cooked quinoa, or other grain of choice
half a package of firm tofu
1 stalk of celery, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
.25c red onion, diced
1 orange pepper, diced
6 handfuls of baby arugula
.25c pomegranate arils 
3T fresh lemon juice
.5c olive oil
and oil to sautee
Preheat oven to 350˚. Slice the squash in half, scrape out the seeds. Lightly coat the flesh with olive oil and sprinkle generously with salt.
Place squash face down on a lined baking sheet and roast until the skin looks a little wrinkly and the flesh is soft. Depending on the size of the squash this should take about 35-40 minutes. When cool slice into quarters- you will have 12 pieces in all.
Remove tofu from the package and place onto a clean kitchen towel and press firmly to release some of the moisture. You can also place a plate on top of the tofu with a heavy object and leave for a few minutes to press out the liquid.
Heat a grill pan and lightly oil. Slice the tofu into quarter inch slices and grill on each side. Remove from the heat and cut into small dice.
In a sautee pan warm some oil on medium high heat. Add the garlic and sautee for 2-3 minutes to release the fragrance. Add the onions, celery and peppers and sautee for just another few minutes leaving the vegetables tender crisp.
Transfer the vegetables and the tofu into a large bowl and add the quinoa. Gently stir to combine. Add S&P to taste.
Mix the lemon juice and oil to make a dressing. Add a few tablespoons into the quinoa mixture then use the rest to dress the arugula.
Lay down a nice layer of arugula for each serving, top with the squash and then fill with the quinoa. Finally sprinkle the pomegranate arils over the top and serve 2 quarters per person.