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French Onion Egg Noodle Casserole and Cress Salad

Serves 4-6

Sweet caramelized onions mixed with noodles and topped with cheese is the pasta bake version of French onion soup! Serve with a crisp cress salad.. This recipe works well as a make-ahead meal, too.


  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), divided
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3 large onions, sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh thyme, chopped
  • 1 large fresh bay leaf
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine or an additional 2 cups beef stock
  • 2 cups beef stock
  • 1 pound extra-wide egg noodles, regular or whole wheat
  • 1 1/2 cups grated Gruyère cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
  • 4 cups watercress leaves, loosely packed (2 bunches)
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • A drizzle of honey


Heat 1 tablespoon EVOO, a turn of the pan, in a skillet over medium-low to medium heat. Add the butter and melt. Add the onions, garlic, thyme and bay, then stir frequently and caramelize, 25-30 minutes. Deglaze the pan with wine, stir until evaporated, then add the stock. Bring to a bubble, then reduce the heat to low.

When the onions are very soft but still cooking, bring a pot of water to a boil. Salt the water and add the pasta. Undercook the noodles by a minute or so and drain.

Combine the noodles with the onions and place in a casserole dish. Top with a layer of both cheeses. Cool completely for a make-ahead meal before covering and storing. Or, place an oven rack in the middle of the oven and pre-heat the broiler. Place the casserole under the broiler to brown the top.

To reheat a make-ahead meal, bake at 375°F, covered, for 30 minutes, then uncover and bake until brown and bubbly.

When ready to serve the casserole, dress the cress with lemon, honey and the remaining 2 tablespoons EVOO. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Cooking with alcohol enhances the flavors of certain dishes. Some of the alcohol burns off in the process of cooking. If you are concerned about using alcohol when you cook, you may use the appropriate substitute listed in the ingredients.