Alison Roman’s Caramelized Shallot Pasta

bowl of pasta with fork on wood table top

5 from 5 reviews

When you make this pasta for the first time…I promise, you will wonder where has it been your whole life! It’s that delicious!


  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 6 large shallots, sliced very thin
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 (2-ounce) can anchovy filets, drained, but not rinsed.
  • 1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste or one (4.5-ounce) tube tomato paste
  • 1 16-ounce package bucatini pasta (with reserved pasta water…don’t forget)!
  • fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • freshly grated parmesan


  1. Heat olive oil in a heavy dutch oven (I used my Le Cresuet) over medium-high heat. Add the shallots and the garlic and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally until the shallots have softened with golden brown edges. This takes about 20 minutes
  2. Add red-pepper flakes and anchovies drained and straight from the can. No need to chop them. They will dissolve when they’re cooked. Stir to combine the anchovies with the shallots, about 2 minutes.
  3. Add tomato paste and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring constantly to prevent any scorching, until the tomato paste has started to cook in the oil a bit, caramelizing at the edges, and turning from bright red to a deeper rusty, brick color, about 2 minutes
  4. Remove the pot from the heat and transfer about half of the sauce into a jar, leaving the rest behind. (These are your leftovers that you can use for a future dish).
  5. Fill another large pot with salted water and bring to a boil. Cook pasta according to package instructions or until very al-dente. Save a cup of pasta water when draining. Transfer the cooked pasta to Dutch oven with the remaining shallot mixture and one cup of pasta water. Cook over medium-high heat, tossing the pasta with the shallot mixture to coat each piece of pasta, use a wooden spoon to scape up any bits at the bottom until the pasta is a thick sauce and is reduced and is sticky, but not saucy, 3 to 5 minutes. Divide pasta into bowls or one large serving bowl and top with a little parmesan cheese and the fresh parsley.

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