The Vital Finishing Touch When Making One-Pot French Onion Pasta

French onion pasta has been a popular food trend in recent years thanks to its convenience and rich flavor. It uses just a handful of common pantry items, comes together easily in a single pot, and the combination of sweet onions, al dente noodles, and aromatic herbs results in a satisfying and mouthwatering meal. Depending on which recipe you use, however, your dish can still end up lacking. If you're wondering what your French onion pasta is missing, we have a suggestion for you: sherry vinegar.

The inspiration for French onion pasta can be found in French onion soup, a savory brew of similar ingredients like caramelized onions, beef broth, Gruyere cheese, and sliced or cubed bread in place of noodles. These flavors come together to form an absolute umami bomb — one which can be overly heavy and one-note if not properly balanced by introducing some acidity. Sherry vinegar is an easy and affordable option to do so, as its crisp taste suits the flavor profile of the cuisine while also having an almost indefinite shelf life.

When to add sherry to your pasta

Vinegar is most commonly used as a finishing ingredient, meaning it should be used at the end of the cooking process. The same rule applies to sherry vinegar when making your pasta. It is worth noting that sherry vinegar has quite a potent taste, so only a small amount is needed to brighten the other flavors of your dish. There is no need to overcomplicate this addition; simply drizzle a little bit of the sherry vinegar into your pasta pot once it is off of the heat and give it a quick stir to incorporate.

Sherry vinegar is widely available at most grocery stores, but if you cannot get your hands on it or have a relevant dietary restriction there are many alternatives that will give your French onion pasta a similar flavor. The real goal here is to add acidity and a bit of sweetness. As such, red or white wine vinegar is probably the closest substitute available, since sherry vinegar itself is a type of wine vinegar. In a pinch, however, a splash of apple cider vinegar or even a healthy squeeze of lemon juice will also do the trick.