Cipolle ripiene (stuffed onions) were never on my radar. During a recent visit from my Piemontese dad, he went on and on (and on and on) about how much he loved “cipolle ripiene.” According to my dad, my great aunt Francesca would make these often and her cipolle ripiene were loved by all who ate them. We tried to replicate Aunt Fran’s dish by combining a few different recipes from my cookbook collection. Aunt Fran’s dish always contained raisins, but the general consensus was to omit them and instead use almonds. The resulting dish seemed to please everyone. They would make a great secondi for a vegetarian and would also work well as a contorni to pass around the table. Try them for yourself! I’ve included our improvised recipe below. Mangia bene!
Makes 4 stuffed onions:
4 large onions, peeled with root attached
1 cup fresh bread crumbs, soaked in 1/3 cup of milk
2 large eggs
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
1/8 cup ground raw almonds
Large pinch cloves
Pinch of sugar
Ground white pepper
4 tablespoons butter
Preheat oven to 400.
Place onions in boiling salted water for approximately 5 minutes. Remove from water and when cool enough to handle, slice off the tops of the onions. Scoop out the inside of the onions, leaving a thin shell. Chop onion tops and scooped out insides. Combine chopped onions with soaked breadcrumbs, eggs, cheese, ground almonds, and seasonings. Mix to combine. Stuff onion shells with filling. Place in a butter baking dish. Cover onions loosely with foil and bake for 1 1/2 hours. Serve hot or warm.