Ziti with Caramelized Onions and Portobellos "O Foods"

This is a healthy quick meal you could put together during the week and I promise you,
you won’t even miss the meat! The sweetness of the caramelized onions, paired with the earthy flavor of the portobellas are a perfect combination. I decided to use a whole wheat pasta which held up perfectly to the dense texture of the mushrooms.


3 Onions
1 Leek, White Portion Only
3T Olive Oil
1 t Sugar
1 Pound Portobella Mushrooms Cut Into 1/4″ Slices
3 Garlic Cloves Minced
1/2 Pound ziti
Fresh Chopped Parsley
Grated Romano or Parmesan Cheese
Salt and Pepper

In a large skillet, combine onions, leek and 2 T of olive oil. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring to coat well. Stir in some salt and the sugar. Cover skillet and cook on low for about 45 minutes, or until onions are light brown. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking. Next, stir in mushrooms and remaining olive oil and a T of water if mixture seems to dry. cover and cook on medium for 5 minutes. Stir in garlic, parsley, salt and pepper.

Cook pasta Al dente, drain and add to mushroom mixture. Serve with grated cheese and fresh chopped parsley.
Recipe adapted from a 2005, Tastes of Italia magazine.

I’m sending this dish off in my support of Ovarian Cancer Awareness, my own mother was a victim of this disease at a very young age. If you can, please join in the support!

September is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month, and for the second year in a row, Sara of Ms Adventures in Italy and Michelle of Bleeding Espresso are hosting the O Foods Contest to raise awareness of this important health issue.
There are TWO WAYS to take part in the O Foods Contest:
ONE: Post a recipe to your blog using a food that starts or ends with the letter O (e.g., oatmeal, orange, okra, octopus, olive, onion, potato, tomato); include this entire text box in the post; and send your post url along with a photo (100 x 100) to ofoods[at]gmail[dot]com by 11:59 pm (Italy time) on Monday, September 28, 2009.
PRIZES for recipe posts:
1st: Signed copy of Dolce Italiano: Desserts from the Babbo Kitchen by Gina DePalma, Executive Pastry Chef of Babbo Ristorante in NYC, who is currently battling ovarian cancer, inspired this event, and will be choosing her favorite recipe for this prize;
2nd: Signed copy of Molto Italiano: 327 Simple Italian Recipes to Cook at Home by Mario Batali (winner chosen by Sara);
3rd: Signed copy of Vino Italiano: The Regional Italian Wines of Italy by Joseph Bastianich (winner chosen by Michelle).
TWO: If you’re not into the recipe thing, simply post this entire text box in a post on your blog to help spread the word and send your post url to ofoods[at]gmail[dot]com by 11:59 pm (Italy time) on Monday, September 28, 2009.
Awareness posts PRIZE:
One winner chosen at random will receive a Teal Toes tote bag filled with ovarian cancer awareness goodies that you can spread around amongst your friends and family.
From the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund:
Ovarian cancer is the leading cause of death from gynecologic cancers in the United States and is the fifth leading cause of cancer death among U.S. women; a woman’s lifetime risk of ovarian cancer is 1 in 67.
The symptoms of ovarian cancer are often vague and subtle, making it difficult to diagnose, but include bloating, pelvic and/or abdominal pain, difficulty eating or feeling full quickly; and urinary symptoms (urgency or frequency).
There is no effective screening test for ovarian cancer but there are tests which can detect ovarian cancer when patients are at high risk or have early symptoms.
In spite of this, patients are usually diagnosed in advanced stages and only 45% survive longer than five years. Only 19% of cases are caught before the cancer has spread beyond the ovary to the pelvic region.
When ovarian cancer is detected and treated early on, the five-year survival rate is greater than 92%.
And remember, you can also always donate to the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund at our page through FirstGiving!
Please help spread the word about ovarian cancer.Together we can make enough noise to kill this silent killer.

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  1. That looks delicious!! Thanks for participating!

  2. I wish my husband would eat mushrooms. Great idea for a contest. Does it have to be an original recipe?

  3. Perfect! Absolute perfect combination. This reminds me of my fave dish from the restaurant Macaroni Grill (which closed here!). I have to make this!

  4. O! this lOOks sO gOOd!

    I had better get cranking with an “O” fOOd recipe.

    lOve, Stace

  5. Oh, wow, this looks amazing. I’ve been trying to incorporate more veggies into everything and this is such a painless and flavorful way.

  6. LOVE LOVE LOVE this. Thanks so much for participating!

  7. wonderfully healthy and delicious looking dish Marie. I’ll have to think of something I can offer too. So sorry your mother had to succumb to that terrible disease.

  8. Portobello mushrooms are one of my favorite meat substitutes (love creminis, too). I will definitely make this dish. I’ll have to think of some “O” recipes to support this cause. Thanks for the inspiration and challenge.

  9. Love the presentation! And the dish, of course.

  10. Lovely pasta dish…mushrooms…looks really delicious!

  11. Thank you for the great meatless meal idea. Looks delicious! I will definitely support the cause and post an “O” recipe.

  12. Yum. I love caramelized onions. This looks like a wonderful hearty fall pasta.

    You are doing a wonderful thing with the O foods. Spread the word!

  13. Gorgeous O Foods! I love simple pasta with vegetable dishes!

  14. Looks absolutely delicious! Thanks for reminding us to spread the word about Ovarian Cancer.

  15. This is one that’s very near and dear to me – thanks for reminding me to participate.

  16. I love portobello mushrooms!Delicious dish and a great cause to support, Marie. So sorry you lost your Mom so young.

  17. Delizioso questo primo piatto ummm..

  18. What a great O food!

  19. Lovely post and delicious dinner. I will figure out how to participate. Many thanks for the information.

  20. what a lovely plata of pasta, so delicious and nutritious! i love the ingredients you used for it, and the photo looks soooo wonderful! very well done!

    cheers from london,


  21. This looks like a great healthy recipe to enjoy during the week when time is crunched. Thanks for a great recipe and supporting an important cause.

  22. Great cause, fabulous dish, Marie. I love portobellos in just about anything, but ziti is its crowning glory!

  23. I am so going to try entering a recipe…let me think o o o …..mmm!!!!

  24. Thank you for posting this recipe, and also for raising awareness about Ovarian Cancer. Both my mom and my sister, as well as a cousin and two aunts died at young ages from this disease. My other sister and relatives just walked last weekend in the Ovarian Cancer Walk in Raleigh, NC. Thanks for spreading the word.

  25. Lovely O food for the event. It just sounds so flavourful and comforting.

  26. I’m making this for dinner, right now as we speak! I don’t have much experience with portobella mushrooms… did you scrape out the gray/black gills before you used them, or did you leave them intact when you sliced. I just found your blog today and I’m so thrilled with it! A big thank you from the west coast! 🙂

    • Sorry Carole, I just saw this! I always scrape out the gills, otherwise it makes everything black. Hope it worked out for you!