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Red Onions With Everything

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September 19, 2016 / Italian / By
Anna

Having grown a successful crop of red onions (cipolle rosse) this year, the challenge was on to use them - not a serious challenge clearly. They are sweet and delicious and compliment many dishes. We have strung them up in the shed, stowed them in traditional Italian fruit baskets and even have them hanging outside the front door (in a non-intrusive way I assure you). This is all very decorative but now to the cooking and eating.

The following recipe is an extremely simple recipe and is a welcome relief from boiled or roasted beetroot. I am not good at roasting beetroot and usually over cook them.


Red Onion and Beetroot

  • Thinly slice two medium sized red onions
  • Thinly slice four medium sized beetroot ( I use a mandolin for this as it is fast; the quantities are not exact)
  • Heat three or more tablespoons of olive oil in a large fry pan. Be generous with the olive oil. Add the onions and fry gently. It is best to use a low heat with olive oil, so it is more like sweating the onions. Add the beetroot once the onions have had time to absorb the oil. When the onions go transparent and soft and the beetroot are soft the dish is ready to eat.
  • Add a little salt and pepper to taste.
  •  This dish is good with bruschetta (toasted bread drizzled with olive oil) or just served as an extra vegetable to get that all important colorful meal. Also, beetroot is good for your blood pressure.

I served this to an elderly Italian friend who is a very good cook. She was very complimentary but the sting in the tail was her additional comment that too often people over-cook beetroot. I fear I have served her rubbery roasted beetroot before and must make a note in my food diary not to do it again. 

Another easy dish.

We always have a lot of cherry tomatoes. This year we thought we were not going to have enough but a happy accident occurred.

 
Last winter, mice had made free with my seeds and had nibbled through the paper and the tin foil inners mixing several packets of seeds together. But I'm a gardener right! I know the difference between types of seeds. I selected the parsnip seeds from the mess the mice had made and sowed them. They germinated fulsomely to my delight, then to my dismay turned into tomato plants. They were growing so vigorously I planted them out having no idea what variety they were and they turned out to be largely cherry tomatoes and there were a lot of them.


An easy way to use them is to follow the recipe above to prepare and sweat the onions.

  • instead of adding beetroot, add three cupfuls or more of cherry tomatoes whole.
  • Slosh in some balsamic vinegar and a little sugar if you prefer a sweet chutney taste;
  • leave to cook on a low heat for about an hour. You want to end up with an onion and tomato slurry. The tomatoes should all have disintegrated.
  • Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve on bruschetta or with BBQed meat. This is a really easy way to make a form of fresh chutney.


It is fine to have a higher of proportion of onions to tomatoes if that is the flavor you are looking for or if you want to use up more onions than tomatoes. Just try and see what works for you.   

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Country: Italy

Province/State: Umbria

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