Lemon Pasta with Caramelized Onions and Fish

The lemon in this delicious pasta recipe is balanced by the sweet caramelized onions. It can be eaten alone or with chicken, but it's screaming to be enjoyed with fish! It's made healthier by substituting some of the pasta with long strands of zucchini, which blend right in. You will need a vegetable spiral slicer to do the job; otherwise, cut the zucchini into thin strips, or just replace the zucchini with more pasta. Any sustainable white fish will work, regardless of the thickness. Just sear each side of the fish fillets while caramelizing the onions, and then bake the fish in a hot oven (if the fillets are more than 1/4 inch thick) while you combine the remaining ingredients in the skillet. Make sure your ingredients are all ready to go before you start the final skillet step – it happens fast. Don't forget to save the pasta water when you drain the partly-cooked pasta! It's the part of the sauce that helps it stick to the pasta and zucchini. This dish (except for the fish) can be made a few hours ahead and heated up with an additional splash or two of pasta water to moisten it up again. Enjoy!
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8 oz linguine or spaghetti (12 oz if no zucchini is used) I small onion, sliced into thin strips 4 tablespoons light olive oil 12 oz white fish fillets 1/2 to ¾ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes Zest of lemon (1 - 2 Tbsp) 1/2 cup pasta water 1 or 2 zucchinis, peeled and spiraled (optional) 1/4 cup lemon juice ⅔ cup grated Romano or Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, plus more for garnish Salt and pepper to taste ⅓ cup parsley, coarsely chopped (optional)


1) Heat oven to 450 degrees if your fish fillets are more than a 1/4 inch thick. Per package instructions, bring water to boil, add pasta, and cook until just barely al dente. Drain, reserving at least 2 cups of the cooking water.
2) Meanwhile, add one teaspoon light olive oil to a large skillet. Cook thinly sliced onions over medium-high heat until caramelized and browned, and transfer to a plate. Then add one tablespoon of oil to the skillet and cook the fish fillets over high heat for about 2 minutes or until opaque. If your fish fillets are more than a quarter-inch thick, transfer them to an oven-safe dish, drizzle with a little more olive oil, and bake them in the oven until a sharp knife can easily penetrate the deepest part of the fish. Be careful not to overcook. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer cooked fish to the plate.
3) Add the remaining oil to the skillet and place over medium heat. Add the crushed red pepper flakes and the lemon zest. Whisk in 1 cup of the reserved pasta water. Toss in the cooked pasta, spiraled zucchini, lemon juice, grated cheese, pepper and salt to taste. Cook until pasta and zucchini are well-coated with sauce. Add more pasta water if needed. Add the caramelized onions and taste. If the pasta seems too sour, balance the lemon by adding 1/2 - 1 tsp real maple syrup or honey over it and toss through until well-combined. I've only had to do this when my onions are not as sweet as usual. Add fresh parsley just prior to serving. Top with more grated cheese and serve with the fish. Enjoy!