Cipolline in Agrodolce


Lovely pearly bulbs with a light green blush! These little globes beckoned me at the market last Saturday, so I took them home to make a dish which I confess, I didn’t quite like as a child. I grew into it as time went by and now, whenever the chance, I like to serve it to my family. Cipolline in agrodolce, or sweet and sour little onions, is a favorite Roman dish which you can adapt to many uses in summer or winter.



1 lb. white pearl onions or small sweet onions peeled.

2 Tbl sugar

2 Tbl balsamic vinegar

2 Tbl olive oil or butter (or a little of both!)

Put all three ingredients, sugar, vinegar and butter, in a saute’ pan and allow them to warm up to a boil under medium heat. Stir briefly.

Then add the onions, add half a cup of water and cover. Cook for approximately 20 minutes, checking every so often to make sure the pan does not dry out. Once the liquid is  thickened and syrupy, and the onions tender, turn off the heat. Cover with plastic wrap and cool to room temperature before serving. The aroma from the balsamic vinegar permeated my refrigerator, tantalizing whoever opened the door! These onions are best after a day, so this is an easy make-ahead dish for a party.

If you want to see an excellent demonstration of how to cook these little sweet onions, take a quick look at this!

Cipolline cotteThe finished product!!

You can eat these onions as a simple antipasto together with other dishes such as prosciutto e melone, a variety of soft cheeses such as taleggio or fontina,  or hard cheese such as asiago. Serve with olives, some crusty bread or crackers, and of course some good white wine! Imagine serving these cipolline with a creamy gorgonzola or in a sandwich with roasted peppers! I highly recommend you try this soon!


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