Take-out Tuesday, French Onion Soup Penne

Have I mentioned my husband has now taken up cooking?  As in reading cookbooks, planning dinners, shopping for ingredients, prepping in advance, serious cooking?

penne with lamb chops

Like Grilled Lamb Chops with Mustard Molasses Glaze from Bobby Flay… fancy schmancy cooking!

French Onion Soup Penne

I am all about help in the kitchen, and he will let me contribute a side dish or two…

French Onion Soup Penne 6

Like this French Onion Soup Penne

When I saw this recipe from Half Baked Harvest,  One Pot Creamy French Onion Pasta Bake, I said, “Oh Yes Please!”


In an effort to lighten things up after the holidays, I made a few changes in the ingredients and changed the technique to suit my cooking style

French Onion Soup Penne 3

The result was an easy, yet elegant pasta dish that you will want to put on your table pronto!

caramelized onions

First caramelize the onions with butter and brown sugar, adding sherry and Worcestershire, and letting everything cook down until the onions have soaked up all that good French onion soup flavor


Next the chicken broth and pasta go in, I used Ronzoni 150 Penne, 25% fewer calories per serving.  You will never miss them…  😋


At this point I put the pasta into a baking dish and added half and half, rather than heavy cream, and flavorful Gruyère cheese. If you use a flavorful cheese like Gruyère or Parmesan, you get a lot of punch from a small amount, so decrease the amount if you want to lighten up this dish even further

The dish can now be refrigerated until baking later or the next day.

Or you can finish the recipe in the sauce pan if you want to serve it immediately


Topped with some shaved Parm, you don’t need much, it goes in the oven for about 30 minutes

French Onion Soup Penne 6

Adult Mac & Cheese!

French onion soup penne 1

This fills your house with a wonderful aroma while it’s cooking…

French Onion Soup Penne


  • 2 T unsalted butter
  • 1 sweet onion sliced
  • 1 T brown sugar
  • 1 T Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 cup sherry
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 8 oz reduced calorie penne pasta
  • 3/4 cup half and half cream
  • 4 oz grated Gruyère cheese { use less cheese if you want to lighten up even more}
  • 1 oz shaved Parmesan cheese
  • salt and pepper
  • fresh thyme for garnish optional


  • Melt butter in a 3 quart sauce pan over medium high heat. Add onions and brown sugar and cook 10 minutes, stirring often, until soft and beginning to caramelize. Add Worcestershire and sherry, and continue to cook for 10 minutes to reduce the wine and infuse the onions with flavor. Add garlic and cook 1 minute.
  • Add chicken broth and season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and add pasta. Cook for 5-8 minutes until pasta is al dente. Stir in cream. Transfer mixture to a 1 quart prepared baking dish. Stir in Gruyère. Top with a sprinkle of Parmesan.
  • Refrigerate at this point until baking if desired. Bake covered at 350 for 20 minutes. Uncover and continue baking for 10-15 minutes until heated through. Garnish with thyme leaves if desired.


Note: If you’re not a fan of thyme, garnish with parsley
French Onion Soup Penne

We had this with simple roasted asparagus on the side, but you can add in any cooked vegetable you like directly to the pasta when you add the finishing cream and cheeses, and then bake or heat through as above

French onion soup penne 4

Stay tuned for some of HH’s kitchen adventures!

Here’s another lite pasta recipe, Lightened Up Mac & Cheese, it’s full of healthy Chia seeds too

light macaroni and cheese thepaintedapron.com


I will be joining these fabulous parties and blogs

Celebrate and Decorate, It’s Overflowing, Rustic and Refined,

Between Naps on the Porch, Coastal Charm, Cooking and Crafting with J&J, Project Inspire, The Scoop, Something to Talk AboutA Stroll Thru Life    Inspire Me Monday

Crafty Staci,   Tickle My TastebudsWow Us Wednesday

Creative Ways, Favorite Things, Full Plate Thursday, Share Your Style, Work it Wednesday

Home Matters, Idea BoxWeekend Retreat,

23 Responses to “Take-out Tuesday, French Onion Soup Penne”
  1. Mary says:

    Jenna, It’s fun to have help in the kitchen, whether it’s the cleaning up or the cooking part! Your adult mac and cheese sounds wonderful with the addition of caramelized onions, Gruyère and parm! Congrats on Alabama’s victory last night, my hubby was crying in his beer over Clemson’s defeat 🙂

  2. Lynn says:

    Lucky girl with all the cooking help! The noodles look yummy. It sounds like it was a fun game last night:@)

  3. Jodi says:

    That French onion penne sounds amazing. I will be trying that!!!!!

  4. Liz Mackie says:

    Thank you for the nice recipe.

  5. Wow! A hubby that cooks would be a dream! I swear, Jenna, I’d weigh 500 lbs. if I lived in your house because everything you do looks so delicious. I’m going to try the onion soup penne — sounds divine.

  6. First off, was the game not the best ever? Roll Tide Roll!!!! Ok, Jenna you had me at penne! We love us some pasta and this has to be delicious! Thanks for sharing and I can’t wait for your husband’s recipes!

  7. LOVE the twist on this penne pasta dish — delish! Definitely trying it this week (picked up the ingredients at the grocery today)!

  8. lelaburris says:

    This sounds really good! Saving the recipe!

  9. pmoppins says:

    French Onion Soup and pasta are two of my favorite things so this recipe is a winner in my book.

  10. Carlee says:

    Oh man, that looks good! I love french onion soup and pasta, so the marriage of the two has to be lovely! I’m not sure what I would do if my husband started cooking like that. I’d be happy to eat it, but resistant to share my kitchen! I have a lot of fun in there =)

  11. Angie says:

    The Lightened Up Mac & Cheese looks great! I would never have thought to add chia seeds. Good idea!

  12. Miz Helen says:

    Hi Jenna,
    Your French Onion Soup Penne looks fantastic! Thanks so much for sharing with Full Plate Thursday and come back real soon!
    Miz Helen

  13. Sandra Garth says:

    Penne is my favorite kind of pasta and I look forward to trying this recipe. Lucky you for having kitchen help!

  14. Miz Helen says:

    Your recipe is featured on Full Plate Thursday this week. Hope you are having a great week and enjoy your new Red Plate!
    Come Back Soon!
    Miz Helen

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