Rigatoni With Caramelized Onions and Gorgonzola

This month, we’re featuring three-ingredient pastas to whip together for friends and family. (Just add wine!) Today, Lindsay from The Live-In Kitchen shares her recipe for this rich, melty combination of onions, garlic and cheese. Here’s how she does it…
Rigatoni with Caramelized Onions, Garlic and Gorgonzola
by Lindsay Moe of The Live-In Kitchen

My family loves pasta, but I get tired of the old red sauce/white sauce debate. Rigatoni with caramelized onions, garlic and gorgonzola creates something completely out of the ordinary and delicious. I love how easily this flavorful pasta comes together. While it takes a little time to caramelize the onions, it’s mostly hands-off work and everything happens quickly.

Using a cast iron or stainless steel skillet will allow your onions to caramelize perfectly—you just won’t get the same outcome in a non-stick skillet. Make sure to reserve some of the pasta water, which you’ll use to deglaze the onion pan and create an almost invisible sauce that will adhere to the pasta. Gorgonzola can be a little salty, so you should wait until the dish is finished to add salt. These few simple ingredients melt together to create a truly rich, unique flavor.

Recipe: Rigatoni with Caramelized Onions, Garlic and Gorgonzola

What you need:

2 tbsp olive oil
3 small sweet onions
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 lb rigatoni
4 oz crumbled gorgonzola cheese
Coarse kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Heat olive oil in a large cast iron or stainless steel skillet over medium heat.

Cut the ends off the onions, remove outer skin, cut in half, then slice thinly from end to end. Add onions and garlic to the oil and stir to coat in oil. Reduce the heat to medium low and allow the onions and garlic to cook, barely sizzling and stirring every 5-10 minutes. The onions and garlic are done when they are soft and golden, 40-60 minutes. Do not allow the garlic to burn. If things are browning too quickly, reduce the heat slightly.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook rigatoni according to package directions. Just before you drain the pasta, reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta water. Drain the pasta and return it to the pot.

Once the onions are completely caramelized, add 1/4 cup of the reserved pasta water to the pan, scraping up all the browned bits on the bottom of the pan. Stir until the onions have almost completely absorbed the water and add the gorgonzola cheese. Stir for about a minute or until the cheese just begins to melt. If the mixture looks dry at all you can add a bit more pasta water. Transfer the entire mixture to the pot with the pasta, making sure to get all of the oil and any browned bits off the bottom of the pan. Stir thoroughly to coat the pasta with the cheese, onions, and garlic. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Thank you so much, Lindsay!

P.S. More recipes, including roasted mushrooms and caesar salad with a twist. And for dessert, 15-minute chocolate pudding.

(Photos and recipe by Lindsay Moe. Thanks to Caroline Donofrio for helping with this series)

  1. Katie says...

    We just made this for dinner, and added toasted walnuts and vegetarian sausage (we warmed these both in the same pan the onion was cooked in). Delish! My second time using blue cheese this week, after the mushroom sandwich recipe from Jamie Oliver’s “Ultimate Veg” cookbook (also delicious! And a great cookbook for inspiration for simple, healthful recipes). I think blue cheese is here to stay!

  2. Liz says...

    I’ve made this twice now and it was DIVINE! My husband loves it too. The first time I tried to adhere to the recipe verbatim, and it was good. The second time, I cooked the onions on *a bit* higher heat (still on low, but sizzling more than barely) and I seasoned the onions throughout cooking to taste rather than just at the end. I liked the second try better. Yum!

  3. Bine says...

    That sounds wonderful! Unfortunately I’m allergic to gorgonzola, do you have any idea what I could use as a substitute?

  4. Thank you for this recipe! we tried it tonight, and it was delicious!!

  5. Looks delicious, I love pasta! And the combination with the gorgonzola cheese, delightful!

  6. i’ve had this pinned for awhile and finally made it tonight, so delicious! between bites, my husband was like “this is really good!” i added a little bacon and would add a little more gorgonzola next time.

  7. Hey Jo,

    Just wanted to drop a line about how much I love your blog, especially the food series.

    Question: I was wondering who cooks/photographs the food, and if you could maybe do a post or something on how to make food photography look nice (as yours does every time!)


  8. What a lovely recipe for dinner! Caramelized onions and gorgonzola sound amazing together!

  9. I adore the taste of gorgonzola (or any other blue cheese) but my family isn’t that much of a fan. I’ve discovered that Cambozola works better for people who don’t like blue cheese that is strong. It’s a creamier, softer Italian blue cheese which always works great as a replacement for gorgonzola: you still have a blue cheese taste but it’s not too much in your face. Trying out the recipe as we speak :)

  10. Great recipe! I love the combination of gorgonzola and caramelised onions – sounds mouthwatering! Thanks for sharing :)

    Tamsin xx | A Certain Adventure

  11. “Um yes please!” Perfect Friday night dinner for the pregnant lady! Yum. x

  12. I LOVE this series—it’s totally brilliant. I’m much more inclined to try the recipes since there’s only three ingredients and I’m more likely to have them on hand. Trying this right now with blue cheese crumbles.

  13. Simple + Delish = can’t go wrong with these ingredients, this weekend!

  14. saw this recipe yesterday morning, made it last night, enjoying the leftovers (there weren’t much) for lunch today. it was fabulous. thanks for sharing the recipe with us!

  15. Oh my god! this food looks amazing and so tasty! Hope you enjoyed it :-)


    Check out my new post:

  16. I LOVE this recipe! I made the one you posted last week with the roasted veges and was amazed how quick and easy it was!
    Can’t wait to recreate this one- yum! I already sent my boyfriend the picture so let’s hope my recreations turns out so pretty as well ;-)

  17. OK I made it and its fantastic! I added black olives and used Cabot cheddar cheese instead.

    My toddler and husband loved it.


  18. How did you think of this recipe! YOu’ve inspired me to make this tonight! this is going to be my boyfriends new fave!

  19. jm says...

    the ultimate comfort food – cant wait to try it.

  20. I would also love suggestions for alternative cheeses…I just can’t do Gorgonzola! Maybe fresh mozzarella?

  21. I often just do the caramelized onions, tossed with pasta, and add fresh grated park…..delicious! ThoughI will have to try w/gorgonzola one of these days too.

  22. I am loving this pasta series! Have already made two (smoked salmon & tomato confit) and they are DIVINE! Definite Keepers!

  23. Just a FYI directly from Italy. No Italian would ever salt a pasta dish after it’s prepared. You salt the water in which you cook the pasta and the sauce accordingly. For example, if you’re making a pesto pasta, you make sure not to over salt the pasta water, as the sauce is already salty on its own.

  24. Gorgonzola is such a great cheese and packs such a punch. I hadn’t thought about it much until a year or so ago when I had a carrot and gorgonzola salad with almonds and a simple citrus dressing. it kind of blew my mind.
    This looks SO GOOD!

  25. Dinner tonight!

  26. This looks & sounds delightful. I really like the addition of Gorgonzola. It’s an acquired taste but a taste a love. And you can’t go wrong with caramelized onions. Yummy! :] // ☼

  27. Sounds amazing, but my husband is not a fan of gogonzola. I’d love some reader suggestions for an alternative cheese. I like the idea of brie, but maybe not enough contrast to the onions….

  28. Yum! I’m gonna try this tonight.

  29. Simple cooking is the best cooking! Looks great!

  30. That would be awesome!! I’ve come to a place finally (after four kiddos!) where I realize that good cooking really does not have to be complicated or multi-step to be absolutely delicious! I wish I trusted my own tastes and cooking skills earlier in life!

  31. My goodness that sounds absolutely amazing. I love this month’s theme Joanna, three ingredients is about all I can handle :-)

  32. I’m trying this this weekend! I will post my results. It looks freakin’ amazing!

    winkandsmileblog dot com

  33. I Loooove pasta dishes! Especially ones that are simple and delicious. Great post


  34. That looks delicious, am def. trying it this weekend. The onions and gorgonzola cheese combo is a killer. Thanks for sharing the recipe!

  35. Add in some walnuts too! heaven

  36. Gosh, this looks amazing! I love simple pasta dishes.

  37. Hey Jo!

    It would be really helpful if you had a printable link for the recipes (just easy access and reference)… just a thought, unless you already have it and im blind.

    LOVE this series btw :)