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Braised Baby Onions

From the Italian Kitchen recipe book, these delicious braised baby onions are a great side dish. Serve the rich and golden cipolline brasate hot or cold.


These onions, served cold, often form part of a spectacular Piedmontese antipasto. They can also accompany cold meat or, served hot, boiled or braised meat dishes. The onions used in Italy are the white, squat kind, very sweet in taste. Unfortunately they are not easily available outside Italy, but you can use small young pickling onions instead.

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700g small onions
4 tbsp olive oil
15g butter
2 tsp tomato purée dissolved in 150ml hot water
2 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


Put the onions in a pan of boiling water. Bring back to the boil and blanch for 1 minute. Drain and remove the outside skin, taking care to remove only the dangling roots and not the base of the root, otherwise the onions will come apart during the cooking.

Choose a large sauté pan and put in the onions, olive oil and butter. Sauté the onions until golden, shaking the pan often.

Add the diluted tomato purée, sugar, vinegar, and salt and pepper to taste. Cook, uncovered, for about 1 hour, adding a little more water if necessary. The onions are ready when they are a rich brown colour and can easily be pierced by a fork. Serve hot or cold, but not chilled.

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