The cooks of Emilia-Romagna love to stuff things from their pillowy pastas to their greens-stuffed tortas. In this simple recipe, onions become the backdrop for a sausage and parmigiano stuffing. It is a great example of how simple fresh ingredients can easily be transformed and united into a dish that warms the soul. The onions are from the farmers at our local market and the sausage from our local butcher – and the freshness shines through. This dish can be made ahead and popped in the oven just prior to dinner. I made it as a side for company on Sunday but it could easily be a light summer main course paired with a salad and a hearty bottle of red.
Happy middle of the week, all!
Cipolle Ripieni (Onions Stuffed with Sausage and Parmigiano)
3 medium onions
Extra virgin olive oil
About ½ pound sausage, casings removed
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
½ cup freshly grated Parmigiano
¼ cup breadcrumbs
¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 egg, lightly beaten
1. Cut the onions in half crosswise. Place the onions cut side down in a skillet or pan large enough to hold them all. Cover with water. Place over medium heat and cook until just soft, about 10 minutes. Remove the onions from the water and set aside to cool.
2. In another skillet, heat about 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. Add the sausage and cook, breaking up with a wooden spoon, until cooked through about 5 minutes. Remove from pan and place in a bowl.
3. To the cooked sausage, add the chopped garlic, Parmigiano, breadcrumbs and parsley. Mix well.
4. Take each onion half and scoop out the center portion of the onion – enough to make a little bowl to hold the filling. Dice the removed center portions and add to the sausage mixture. Mix well. Add salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.
5. Add in the egg and mix again.
6. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
7. Lightly grease a pan large enough to hold the onions but small enough to keep them close together in the pan (see my photo above). Place the onions cut side up in the pan. You can trim a bit off the bottoms to allow each half to sit level. Fill each half with stuffing. Any left over stuffing can just be sprinkled on top of the onions. Drizzle with olive oil.
8. Bake the onions, uncovered, until cooked through and browned, about 40 minutes.
9. Remove from oven. Allow the onions to cool slightly, drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and serve!