Onion Soup with White Wine and Parmesan Toasts

Preparation info

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Appears in

Lighter, Quicker, Better: Cooking for the Way We Eat Today

Lighter, Quicker, Better

By Richard Sax and Marie Simmons

Published 2000

  • About

French onion soup with gobs of gooey cheese used to be the height of sophistication. Not anymore. Our version is lighter yet even more flavorful. Naturally sweet onions, which are slowly cooked until caramelized, produce a mahogany-brown soup when simmered in beef broth. For a golden hue, use a combination of beef and chicken broth.


  • 4 cups chopped sweet onions (about pounds)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons water, or as needed
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 4 cups Beef Broth, or 2 cups each Beef Broth and Chicken Broth, or reduced-sodium canned broth, fat skimmed
  • ¼ cup minced carrot


    1. Combine the onions, oil, and water in a large wide saucepan, preferably nonstick, and cook over medium-high heat until onions are coated with oil, about 1 minute. Cover and cook over low heat until onions are very tender, about 10 minutes. Uncover and continue cooking until onions turn a rich golden brown, about 10 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes longer.
    2. Turn heat to high. Add the wine and cook, stirring, until wine reduces by half, about 3 minutes. Add the broth and carrot. Cover the pan and simmer over low heat until the carrot is very tender, about 20 minutes. Set aside.
    3. Heat the oven to 350°F.
    4. Lightly brush bread with olive oil and place in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake until lightly toasted, about 10 minutes.
    5. Using a cheese slicer or vegetable peeler, cut thin wide curls of parmesan cheese. Cover the surface of each piece of toast with 1 or 2 curls of cheese. If only grated cheese is available, sprinkle each slice of toast with about 1 teaspoon.
    6. Toast the cheese-topped bread in the oven until cheese has melted slightly, about 6 minutes.
    7. At serving time, add pepper to soup and ladle into bowls. Float 1 or 2 pieces of parmesan toast on each portion of soup. Sprinkle with parsley and serve piping hot.