Recipes Side Dishes Vegetables Sweet-and-Sour Onions (Cipolline in Agrodolce)

Sweet-and-Sour Onions (Cipolline in Agrodolce)

Sweet-and-Sour Onions (Cipolline in Agrodolce) is rated 5.0 out of 5 by 1.
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Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 60 minutes
Servings: 4

Romans have had a taste for sweet and sour since ancient times, when honey, grape must or sweet wine provided the sweet, and vinegar or garum the sour. In traditional Roman cooking, wild boar or beef tongue may be cooked in agrodolce, as are occasionally red mullet and salt cod. These onions, cooked until golden brown and tender, are ubiquitous in Rome during the colder months. This recipe yields piquant onions that nicely complement the simply prepared meats that are so much a part of the Roman menu.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. small, flat onions, such as cipollini or borettana, or small boiling onions
  • 2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oi
  • 1/4 cup sugar 
  • 1/4 tsp. salt 
  • 1/2 cup white wine vinegar 
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine 
  • 1/2 cup water 

Directions:

To peel the onions, cut off the root end and remove the papery skin and, if it is blemished, the outer layer. (Holding them under cold running water as you work helps prevent tears.) Alternatively, bring a pot three-fourths full of water to a rapid boil over high heat. Add the onions, boil for 1 minute, drain and immerse in cold water until cool. Cut off the root end from each onion and then squeeze the onion; it should slide from its skin. Cut away any tenacious skin at the top. Rinse to remove any residual skin or dirt.

Place the onions in a heavy saucepan or deep fry pan large enough to accommodate them in a single layer. Pour the olive oil over them, add the sugar, salt, vinegar, wine and water, and stir just to mix.

Place the pan over medium heat and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, until much of the liquid has evaporated and a thick sauce remains in the pan, about 1 hour. The onions should be quite tender and golden brown.

Transfer the onions to a serving bowl and serve warm or at room temperature. They will keep well, tightly covered, in the refrigerator for a few days. Serves 4.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Foods of the World Series, Rome, by Maureen B. Fant (Oxmoor House, 2005).

Rated 5 out of 5 by from Gorgeous, Deep Flavour These are amazing. The vinegar and sugar played off each other nicely and gave a spectacularly deep flavour. I made this to recipe with the exception of the wine (used vermouth) and the water (used chicken broth instead). I also added a small pinch of citric acid to ensure an extra tangy, bright taste. I used cipollini onions and cooked them for an hour and they held up perfectly. Next time, however, I might try an additional 10-15 minutes to get them even more tender. These are perfect as a side dish or condiment, depending on your meal. They also held up well after time in the fridge and reheating. I definitely recommend these. My only suggestion is that you double the recipe if you have 4 people. If not, double it anyway. After all of that braising, they make delicious leftovers!
Date published: 2012-06-17
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