Market Matters- Conchiglioni with Balsamic Glazed Sweet Onions & Gorgonzola

Conchiglioni. I am a bachelor this weekend. Left wild and free. There is opportunity for trouble everywhere I turn. ‘Cuz I can be bad– real bad! And just what do you think a wild and crazy single man like myself is  bound to do if left to his own devices for an entire weekend?

Why gorge himself on sweet spring onions of course!

I was so impressed by everything I learned about onions from Kim from the National Onion Association at CampBlogaway that I just could not wait to have some alone time with some of these sweet springtime beauties. As you can see I chose a young, uncured style of sweet onion. The “paper” you are used to seeing on other onions develops when the onions are cured in the fields. Mine were pulled– greens and all– and sent straight to the market where they found their way into my shopping bag. Naughty, naughty onion!

But how could I resist their charms?

I was at the Hollywood Farmers Market this morning and a little tickle of my senses led me to the wildly intoxicating sweet fragrance these young beauties are known for. Don’t they know the effect they have on men? That’s because the “sweet onions” of spring and summer have a higher water content, which accounts for the sweetness. They are usually enjoyed raw in salads and such. But I am going to break that rule and play a little “dress up” game with mine. Because I think they will be absolutely riveting with a lightly caramelized sheen to them. I think I will further emphasize their sweetness with a balsamic glaze. After all I am alone for the weekend. Who’s gonna know the difference?

balsamic glazed onion pasta with gorgonzolaNow that I have been completely seduced I can’t help but lavish in their sweet charms as the central component in a boldly flavored pasta dish I am preparing for myself. In addition to the sweet onions I will aslo add garlicky breadcrumbs and Gorgonzola cheese. Because if you are gonna break a few rules you may as well be as bad as you can.

I chose a shell shaped pasta despite the fact that there is no seafood in this recipe. Now I admit that the shape makes serving shellfish with this pasta fun, it is in no way mandatory. Because I  love the way the big flavors of the ingredients get trapped inside these conchiglioni shells making for an explosion of taste and texture in every bite.

With onions this good can you imagine the trouble I could get into if I were left alone a whole week?

Conchiglioni with Balsamic Glazed Sweet Onions & Gorgonzola serves 6 CLICK here for a printable recipe


  • 1 T kosher salt, plus more as needed
  • 1 lb conchiglioni pasta shells
  • 1⁄4 c olive oil, plus a bit more divided
  • 3 clv garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1 c fresh breadcrumbs
  • 2 T Italian parsley leaves, minced, plus more for garnish
  • freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 lb large sweet spring or red onions, sliced into thin rings
  • 3 T balsamic vinegar
  • 6 oz Gorgonzola cheese, crumbled

Pasta Shells with Gorgonzola and OnionsBring a large pot of water to a boil. Add 1 tablespoon salt. Add pasta, and cook for about 10 minutes or until al dente; drain. Be sure and check as this pasta can take a bit longer than most to cook.

As the pasta cooks heat 2 tablespoon oil in a medium-sized skillet set over medium-high heat. Add half the garlic and cook gently for about 1 minute. Add the breadcrumbs and cook until nicely toasted. Turn off the heat and add the parsley, stir well, season with salt and pepper and set aside.

Heat the remaining 1/4 cup oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Saute onions until golden brown, about 10 minutes. Stir in the remaining garlic, and cook for 2 minutes. Remove from heat, and stir in balsamic vinegar.

In a large bowl, combine pasta with a little bit of its water, breadcrumbs, onion mixture, and Gorgonzola. Toss until evenly coated, and cheese is melted. Garnish with more parsley.