Monday, October 10, 2022

How to Make Spaghetti & Onions From Stanley Tucci Searching for Italy

 By: The Food Hunter

 "There's nowhere on earth like Italy. And there is no food on earth like Italian food"

Stanley Tucci: Searching for Italy is back and I for one couldn't be happier! For the next 4 weeks the CNN audience will have a front row seat to experience the visually stunning landscape and tantalizing food of Italy alongside actor and cookbook author Stanley Tucci.

In episode one, which aired on October 10th, Tucci visits his family's hometown; Calabria. From the Appennino mountains to the turquoise color of its sea, Calabria is a region full of culture, character and food. Tucci, with his parents in toe, took us back to Marzi the birthplace of his grandfather, where he meandered the streets enjoying the culture and the cuisine. 

Stanley Tucci: Searching for Italy;  Photo: Matt Holyoak

While visiting Calabria, Tucci discovers the mystery behind the Tropea Onion and what makes them so special. Restaurateur Michele Pugliese explains how the onions only grow along a small stretch of coastline making them super sweet, delicious and incredibly unique. With a bit of coaxing from Pugliese  Tucci bites into an onion as if it were an apple and is immediately smitten. 

Pugliese's takes Tucci to his restaurant, Osteria Della Cipolla Rossa, where his wife prepares red onion spaghetti. The dish is nothing more than onions, broth and pasta yet it is what the restaurant is famous for. 

Stanley Tucci: Searching for Italy;  Photo: Matt Holyoak


Although the taste of the Tropea onion is impossible to replicate outside of Calabria, store bought red onions work well in the spaghetti recipe below. 

Searching for Italy: Tropea Onion Spaghetti

Tropea Onions and Spaghetti

  • 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 4 Tropea onions, (substitute red onions)
  • 1-2 cups vegetable stock (homemade if possible)
  •  ricotta salata cheese
  • Olive oil,  Calabrian preferred
  • salt
  • Basil 
  • 1 lb Spaghetti

serves 4

  1. Trim off the root ends of the onions, and peel and cut them in half lengthwise. Remove the outer layer(s) of the onion if it looks tough. Slice the halves lengthwise into very thin strips.
  2. Heat 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil in a heavy bottomed pot. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant. 
  3. Add onions and continue cooking over medium heat.
  4. Add stock, a little at a time, and simmer until onions are cooked down and creamy. Taste and season with salt if needed.
  5. In the meantime cook pasta in boiling water to al dente. Add cooked pasta to the pan with the onions and toss to coat.
  6. Add chopped basil and freshly grated ricotta salata to the pan.
  7. Plate pasta and drizzle with olive oil.


  1. This sounds really tasty!

  2. Watched the episode yesterday on CNN and cooked this today based on what I could recall from the program. Very simple and delicious recipe. Thank you for sharing.