2 1/2 pounds red onions
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
2 large bay leaves
3 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon salt, and more to taste
1 cup good dry red wine
1/4 teaspoon thyme
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon dried basil, crushed
1 teaspoon chopped fresh sage (or 1/2 teaspoon dried)
2 cups peeled, chopped tomatoes, with liquid
1/4 cup brandy
1 teaspoon lemon juice
2 teaspoons white-wine vinegar
Pepper, to taste
1 1/4 to 1 1/2 pounds thin spaghetti

Peel the onions, halve them and slice them rather thickly. Melt the butter in a large pot and add the bay leaves and the garlic and cook them, stirring constantly, for about 1 minute. Add the sliced onions and saute them over a fairly high heat, stirring almost constantly, for at least 1/2 hour. The onions should be evenly light brown in color.

Add the paprika and the salt and stir for another few minutes. Add the wine, herbs, tomatoes, brandy, lemon juice, vinegar and pepper. Lower the heat and simmer the sauce, stirring occasionally, for about 45 minutes to 1 hour. It should be thick, but not pasty.

Taste the sauce and correct the seasonings if necessary.

Boil the spaghetti in 6 or 7 quarts of salted water until it is just al dente, and drain it immediately. Pour the hot sauce over the spaghetti, toss quickly and serve.

Makes 6 to 8 servings

— "The Vegetarian Epicure, Book Two," by Anna Thomas