This Beef Broth Pasta with Onion and Parmesan is a hearty and warming pasta dish that tastes like you have been cooking for hours but is ready in 20 minutes.
The pasta is cooked like a risotto, slowly adding broth/stock until the pasta is tender, giving it great depth of flavor and an almost creamy texture. Garnished with plenty of parmesan this is Italian comfort at it’s very best.
Add a side salad or some steamed veggies and some garlic bread for a quick family meal.
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How to cook pasta in beef broth
Pasta needs liquid to cook, but that liquid can be anything. Broth/stock, vegetable juice, milk, etc.
There are two ways to cook pasta in broth.
One is to bring a large pan of broth to the boil and then cook your pasta as you would do in boiling water. This imparts a subtle flavor on the pasta. But also results in lots of wasted broth as you need to drain the pasta.
The second way is the method we are using for this Beef Broth Pasta and it is a process similar to cooking a risotto, where you add a little stock at a time and gently stir the pasta so it absorbs the broth/stock before you add a little more. This results in no wasted broth and also a nicely flavored pasta.
It takes a little more time than the traditional method of cooking pasta but we are talking under 5 minutes more and the result is a pasta that has so much flavor and also is coated in an almost creamy sauce, because the broth and starch from the pasta have combined to make a glossy coating on the pasta. So good you guys!!
What broth to use?
Just like a risotto the broth/stock used can make or break this dish. You want to use either a homemade beef broth or a good quality store-bought one. Last on the list is a crumbled stock cube, you get the flavor but the salt can sometimes be too much.
You can use a low sodium broth if you are worried about the salt content, but you usually find you need to add salt at the end then. Using a standard broth/stock means you will need no extra salt. So go with which you prefer. (I use standard broth/stock)
Tips for making Pasta in Broth
- Start by cooking a finely chopped onion in butter and olive oil. This will add extra flavor to your pasta, plus the fats help to stop the pasta from sticking together as it cooks.
- The pasta is cooked slowly in the stock, allowing the starch to thicken the juice and create a creamy and rich texture. Just like risotto, this needs love and attention. You need to slowly add the stock and then stir gently to cook the pasta through. Although it takes effort it isn’t hard work. A bit of monotonous stirring can be very relaxing.
- Having the broth in another pan over a low heat means you are adding hot broth to the pasta which will speed up the cooking process, but you can use cold broth straight from the carton, but this will take much longer.
- Once the pasta is cooked it is finished with plenty of fresh parmesan and a sprinkling of fresh herbs. Don't add any salt as the broth will have added plenty of flavor and salt. Add pepper to taste.
What pasta to use for this Beef Broth pasta
We used spiral pasta, but any tubular pasta will work. You want to ensure it is a sturdy shape as the constant stirring would break the edges off something like a farfalle or a rotini.
If you don’t have a tubular pasta then parpadelle broken into small pieces will work but it is harder to eat.
What to serve with Beef Broth Pasta
Wine: To pull out the sweet onion flavor and deep beefiness try pairing this with a fruity red Beaujolais. Or go for a lightly acidic white like a Pinot Gris/Pinot Grigio.
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Get the Recipe
Beef Broth Pasta with Parmesan Recipe
- 2 ½ cups beef broth
- 1 onion
- 2 tablespoon butter
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 10 oz pasta - see note 1
- ⅓ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- fresh parsley
- Pour the beef broth into a small pan and bring it to a simmer. (see note 2)
- Peel and finely chop the onion.
- In a large pan, melt the butter and olive oil together over low heat.
- Add the onion to the butter and cook, for about 5 minutes until the onion is soft.
- Add the pasta and stir it well so it is coated in the onion butter.
- Pour in about ½ cup of the beef broth and constantly stir until it has fully absorbed.
- Continue stirring and adding the beef broth, ½ cup at a time until the pasta is al dente.
- If you run out of broth then continue with boiling water.
- Remove from heat and season generously with black pepper (you shouldn't need salt)
- Serve garnished with parsley and plenty of grated parmesan.
- We used spiral pasta, but any tubular pasta will work. You want to ensure it is a sturdy shape as the constant stirring would break the edges off something like a farfalle or a rotini.
- Having the broth in another pan over a low heat means you are adding hot broth which will speed up the cooking process, but you can use cold broth straight from the carton, but this will take much longer.
Nutrition is per serving