French Onion Egg Noodle Casserole and Cress Salad

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
  • 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.

This is one of many “Yum-o!” recipes – it’s good and good for you. To find out more about Yum-o!, Rachael’s nonprofit organization, go to

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