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.