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This is something my Nonna would make on Fridays during Lent. It was always my favorite and I asked for it all the time. For me, it is the ultimate comfort food.
Cut the onions in half then slice the half moons into strips. In a large pan, add 1/4 cup oil and add all onion slices to the pan (add onions into cold oil) stir until they are coated. Cook on medium to medium low heat. Slowly saute and caramelize them until they are a nice golden brown. (You will need enough oil to seem like the onions are swimming when they start to shrink. You might need to add a few tablespoons as you are cooking them. It might seem like a lot of oil, but fret not, part of the oil will make the sauce.) When the onions are nicely caramelized, add the chopped garlic and turn off the heat and let the garlic steep in the onions and oil.
Place a large pot of water on to boil. Be sure you cook your pasta in enough water, it will keep it from sticking together. While the water is coming to a boil, start cleaning the broccoli and chop into medium florets and stems. Salt the water once it starts boiling.
Place the pasta in the water and boil for about half of the cooking time that’s recommended on the package. Then add the broccoli florets and stems and finish cooking the pasta until your preferred doneness.
While pasta and broccoli are cooking, in a small pan, add the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil and pour the breadcrumbs in. Mix until the breadcrumbs are coated in oil and resemble wet sand. Heat on medium-low heat and brown the crumbs. Be careful, as once they start to get brown they go from brown to burnt quickly.
When it’s done, drain the cooked pasta and broccoli while reserving some of the pasta water in a small cup. Back into the pasta pot, layer the pasta/broccoli with onions and sprinkle the toasted breadcrumbs on top, doing so in layers. While adding the onions, spoon a bit of the cooking oil around the pasta. Then sprinkle some of the pasta water throughout the layers as needed to keep the pasta moist. (It will mix with the oil and keep it from getting greasy.) Keep layering pasta, onions and breadcrumbs and end with the caramelized onions and breadcrumbs.
Serve warm with great French bread and you have yourself some wonderful comfort food.
Feel free to customize the toppings to your taste. I like my wrap with avocado, tomato and lettuce while my husband likes the chicken on a bun as a club sandwich. The real key to this recipe is the marinade.
Nancy is the Coupon Clipping Cook, which means she not only has an astounding number of recipes to share with us (her TK recipe box is busting at the seams!) but she's also got loads of money-saving tips in her blog (she worked at a grocery store for a number of years, so she knows her stuff). She has some pretty amazing creations, like Roasted Garlic Potato Soup and Nutty Coconut Chicken. Go check them out!
Heather is a Texas native and the blogger behind Heather's Dish. She's mom to Weston, wife to Nate, and they live in Little Rock, Arkansas with their two "stubborn and saucy" dogs Bunker and Keira. In her blog, she shares her photographs, random musings (serious and silly alike), and all kinds of scrumptious recipes---and not just evil variations of her favorite mac and cheese. Her enviable TK recipe box is a testament to that. Go see for yourself!