Cipollini Onions

I love onions but I had never had the cipollini variety until this Thanksgiving. I have walked past them many times in the grocery store and decided to finally give them a try.

Cipolline in hand, I now had to figure out what to do with them. Thomas Keller has a few very labor intensive recipes but they were just too much for this occasion. After some deliberation, I settled on a recipe in Joyce Goldstein’s Italian Slow and Savory cookbook.

Red wine and sugar combine with butter and olive oil to make a sweet and savory, jammy sauce that is accented with toasted pine nuts and a cranberry raisin mix.

Aside from being delicious, this particular dish is a great way to add a little cranberry to your plate, without actually making (or opening) cranberry sauce.

Cipolline in Agrodolce

Adapted from Joyce Goldstein


2 1/2 pounds cipollini onions (about 18 total)

6 tablespoons unsalted butter or olive oil (I used half of each)

2 tablespoons of sugar

6 tablespoons of red wine vinegar

1 tablespoon tomato paste (optional) (I opted not)

1/4 cup dark or golden raisins (I used a mixture of raisins and unsweetened dried cranberries)

1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted



Trim the root ends of the onions carefully, leaving the bottom of each bulb intact. Cut a shallow cross in each root to prevent the onion rom telescoping during cooking.

Bring a large saucepan three-fourths full of water to a boil. Add the onions and boil until barely cooked and still firm, about 5 minutes.  Drain, let cool until they can be handled and slip of the skins.

In a large sauté pan, heat the butter and olive oil over medium heat.  Add the onions and sauté, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, about 8 minutes. Reduce the heat to low and add the sugar, vinegar, tomato paste (if using), raisins and/or cranberries, and pine nuts. Cover tightly and simmer until the onions are completely tender, 25 to 30 minutes.

Season the onions with salt and transfer to a serving dish.  Serve warm or at room temperature.


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