CIPOLLINE IN FORNO (BAKED ITALIAN PEARL ONIONS)
("The Florentine Table" Tour)
Serves 4 to 6 people
Prep time: 10 min. Cooking time: 40 min.
1 1/4 lbs. cipolline (Italian pearl onion*)
3 tbsps. butter (unsalted)
1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
A pinch of salt & pepper
1 tsp. fresh thyme leaves & a couple of bay leaves
Clean onions by cutting away any roots or soft outer skins. Rinse. Pat dry. Place onions in baking dish. Add butter, salt, pepper, thyme and bay leaves.
Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Once warm, pop baking dish inside. Allow onions to bake for 15 minutes before mixing them around and adding ¼ cup of liquid (vegetable broth if you have it, otherwise warm water will do). Allow onions to continue to bake for another 15 minutes or so. They should be getting soft and taking on a golden color. At this point, cover the baking dish with foil and allow the onions to bake for another 10 minutes before turning oven off. Onions should be golden brown on the outside while tender and pearly white inside. If they need a bit more baking time to become golden, allow them to bake without foil covering for a few more minutes OR stick them under the grill for a minute or so. Remove onions from oven, stir them around in their savory, herb and butter drippings and serve.
Note: you can bake cipollini ahead of time and then re-heat them on the stovetop in their baking dish before serving. Just add a drop of vegetable broth or warm water when re-heating to revive the tasty buttery drippings. Remember to pour this herb/butter sauce atop the savory onions before serving.
*A small round onion with a flat top, cipolline are normally baked or grilled and served alongside Tuscan beef stew or mouth-watering Arista (pork roast).