Here is a quick guideline for a pasta I made last week with Madeira caramelized onions, smoked chicken, thyme and truffle:
Sweet onions (sliced or diced)
Madeira wine (Port or Sherry also work beautifully)
Chicken stock or smoked chicken stock (optional but enhances flavour)
Roasted garlic cloves or oil (optional but enhances flavour)
Truffle oil or paste
Smoked Chicken, de-boned and chopped into rough pieces
Sea salt and pepper to taste
First, chop your herbs. Rosemary should be chopped finely. Thyme should be chopped even finer. Flat leaf parsley can be chopped more roughly. Put these off to the side covered with a damp paper towel to ensure freshness.
Starting with your sliced or diced onions, in a sauté pan, caramelize them with the finely chopped rosemary, butter and white pepper. (Leave the salt out for now, as it draws out moisture and prevents browning.) Take care not to burn the butter or the onions on too high of a heat setting.
Once the onions are beginning to caramelize, salt them and then whisk in the flour and cook for about 4 minutes to create a blond roux – this is a roux that is just beginning to turn golden in colour. Deglaze the pan with 1/4-1/2 cup of Madeira, while whisking vigorously, and 1/4 cup chicken or smoked chicken stock. Cook for a few minutes until the mixture starts to thicken and flavours meld. Season the mixture to taste with sea salt and white pepper.
Pour your finished sauce over al dente pasta and toss with chopped parsley. If using truffle paste, mix it in now. Re-season if necessary. Add more Madeira to punch up the flavour, as a lot is lost in cooking. (Hint: Roasted garlic cloves, crushed, or roasted garlic oil add even more savoury-sweet flavour) Drizzle with truffle oil.
In a separate bowl, toss the chicken with a light coating of sauce, thyme, a drizzle of truffle oil and a small pinch of sea salt. Top the pasta. To balance out the flavours even more, this pasta is lovely with goat cheese.