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How to Make Onions Agrodolce

Updated on November 28, 2010

These sweet and sour onions are an Italian classic and are a perfect accompaniment to roasted or braised meats, particularly pork. These are traditionally made with small cipolline onions, but any very small red or white onions should also work just fine.

Although these look and taste pretty elegant, they’re actually surprisingly easy to put together – and the recipe doesn’t likely call for anything that’s not in your pantry already!

Onions Algrodolce

  • About 2 pounds of small cipolline or other small onions
  • ¼ cup of red wine vinegar
  • ¼ cup of olive oil
  • 2 Tbls of sugar
  • 2 bay leaves
  • ¼ cup of raisins
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  1. Bring a pasta sized pot of water to a boil
  2. Cut the root and top ends off each of the onions
  3. When the water comes to a boil, plop the onions into the pot and let the onions simmer for about 5 minutes.
  4. Take the onions out of the water and when cool enough to handle, peel off the outer skin
  5. Heat the olive oil over medium in a heavy skillet that’s (ideally) large enough to fit the onions in a single level without crowding.
  6. When the oil is hot, add the bay leaves to the oil and let the bay leaf ripple and cook for about 1 minute, and then add in all of the onions and let them sauté in the oil for another few minutes, or until they’re just starting to brown up on the exterior
  7. After the onions have started to brown slightly on their exteriors, add in the vinegar, the sugar and the raisins and stir it to mix well and continue stirring until the vinegar sauce mixture has become very thick and sticks completely to the onions, which are starting to caramelize. (You definitely need to keep stirring and keep an eye on things during this stage, because if you turn your back for a minute once you’ve added in the sugar, your lovely sweet and sour onions will be a blackened mess in a hurry)
  8. Once the onions are just starting to caramelize and once you’ve taken them off the heat, take out the bay leaves and discard and add a pinch of salt and a turn of pepper – taste, and add more salt again until you have them perfectly seasoned.

Serve warm or at room temperature as a side for all kinds of meat dishes.


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