Lucy Waverman’s Orecchiette with Caramelized Onions

As a child, one of my favourite pastimes was visiting my dad’s office and completing career tests online. (If you read this column regularly, you’ll already know I’m a bit bizarre.) Call it fate, but my love of food was present even then: I consistently got taste-tester as my top recommended career. It was my earliest encounter with the wide range of jobs in the food and hospitality industries.

UTM communications officer Blake Eligh can certainly speak to this fact. For the past 15 years, Eligh has written about lifestyle, parenting, and food for a few Canadian publications. She also served as an editorial assistant to Lucy Waverman (, a Canadian food writer. In that role, Eligh researched, wrote copy for, and taste-tested Waverman’s recipes for pieces in The Globe and Mail, the LCBO’s Food and Drink magazine, and Waverman’s own cookbooks.

“This recipe for high-end mac ’n’ cheese comes from Lucy’s 2006 book, A Matter of Taste. It has big flavour, doesn’t require any fussing with a traditional Béchamel sauce, and it’s easy to double if I’m feeding a crowd. There are never leftovers,” says Eligh.

Eligh recommends making “a big batch of caramelized onions in a slow cooker and [freezing] them in half-cup portions so you always have some handy. They’re great on toasted baguettes, burgers, pizza, or even in soup.” If you do heed her advice, she suggests that you “make it on a day you can leave the windows open”.

What to serve on the side? “I serve this with a simple salad of tender Bibb lettuce and sliced pears drizzled with a vinaigrette of lemon juice, olive oil, and a splash of maple syrup,” says Eligh.

Whether I become a taste-tester remains to be seen. But I’ll give Waverman’s recipe a go—with the window open.


Lucy Waverman’s Orecchiette with Caramelized Onions

From Lucy Waverman’s A Matter of Taste


  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 cup diced pancetta
  • 2 big Spanish or sweet onions, sliced thin
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 lb (500 g) orecchiette pasta
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan
  • 8 oz grated smoked cheese (mozzarella, San Simon, or white cheddar)
  • 2 tbsp butter


  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. Sauté pancetta in small skillet over medium heat for 3 minutes or until crisped & golden. Drain on paper towel.
  3. Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add onions and salt them immediately. Sauté for 3 minutes or until they are coated in oil. Turn heat to medium-low and continue to cook onions 30–40 minutes until they become a thick golden mass. Season well.
  4. Bring large pot of salted water to boil. Add orecchiette and boil until al dente. Drain immediately and transfer to large bowl. Stir in cream, butter, 1/2 cup Parmesan, onions, and smoked cheese.
  5. Transfer to a buttered baking dish, sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup Parmesan, and dot with butter.
  6. Bake 15–20 minutes or until pasta is hot and top is slightly browned.

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