February 26, 2019

Stuffed Onions - Cipolle Ripiene

Today we are in for a delicious treat prepared with quite humble ingredients. Onions are the star of the dish as they will be stuffed with simple ingredients, baked and served as a mouthwatering side dish perfect for any occasion. Stuffed onions can also be served as a main dish with some roasted potatoes and a few slices of freshly baked bread.

Did you know that a famous french chef referred to the onion as "the truffle of the people"? Leave it to the poor farmers who always knew how to use what the earth had to offer to create delicious, simple and timeless dishes elevated in fame to the very TRUFFLE.

Recipe:

Supplies:

  • Wood-fired oven
  • Infrared thermometer
  • Baking pan

Ingredients:

  • 6 red onions or yellow onions
  • 5-6 slices of bacon or pancetta (optional)
  • Bread crumbs for dusting
  • 130 grams sliced day old bread
  • 1/2 cup milk, enough to soak the bread slices 
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • Salt to taste
  • Pepper to taste (optional)
  • Hot pepper flakes or peperoncino to taste
  • Leftover sliced potatoes (optional)
  • 80 grams Parmigiano Reggiano
  • Olive oil to drizzle in the bottom of baking dish
  • Handful of fresh Italian parsley
  • 2 Tbsp red wine vinegar

Directions:

    1. Light the fire in the wood-fired oven and preheat to 218°C - 425°F
    2. Peel onions and place in salted boiling water. Make sure onions are submerged. Add red wine vinegar and boil for about 7-10 minutes. The time will depend on the size of the onions. 
    3. In a small bowl place the bread slices with the milk and allow it to soak until all the milk is absorbed.
    4. Cut the bacon or pancetta into small pieces. 
    5. Crush the garlic and place in a large bowl.
    6. We had some leftover roasted potatoes which we chopped up and added to the garlic. Totally optional.
    7. Chop some parsley and add to the potatoes and garlic.
    8. Add salt, pepper,  and hot pepper flakes to the mixture.
    9. Squeeze the milk out of the bread and add the bread to the bowl with the pancetta or bacon.
    10. Crack two eggs and place them in the bowl along with the Parmigiano Reggiano.
    11. Drain the onions from the water and slice in half horizontally.
    12. With the help of a spoon, fork or hands, carefully remove the heart or the pulp of the onion. The onion half should look like a small cup. If you notice a hole at the base of the "cup" don't worry. Just cover it with a slice of onion.
    13. Now you can chop up the heart of the onion and add it to the mixture in the bowl.
    14. Stir all ingredients well.
    15. Drizzle olive oil in an oven proof dish and carefully set each onion half in the pan.
    16. Place a handful of the mixture in each cup until all are equally filled.
    17. Lightly sprinkle the bread crumbs over the filled onion cups and drizzle some olive oil over each.
    18. Check the oven temperature with the infrared thermometer by pointing it on the stone of the oven floor.
    19. Place the dish into the oven and close the door. You may want to cover the dish with some aluminum foil for the first 10-15 minutes if there is an active flame.  This will ensure that the tops of the onions will not burn.  
    20. After 10-15, remove the foil and continue baking for another 20 minutes or until you notice that the filling has nicely browned.  
    21. Delicious when served as a side dish. Perfect for a main dish when served with some roasted potatoes and toasted slices of bread that have been drizzled with olive oil.

Buon Appetito!

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The beauty of using a wood-fired oven is the relationship you build with it. Become acquainted with your oven. Be patient with yourself. Find out the intensity of the flame once the oven has reached the right temperature.  Soon it will become second nature, and you will know when it is time to add another piece of wood and what size. If you take the time to be well in tune with your oven, it will consistently  surprise you with its amazing performance.