Cipolline Agrodolce – sweet & sour onions

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These sweet and sour onions are best when allowed to simmer slowly. This Venetian recipe is a great accompaniment to a variety of main dishes. As with many other slow cooked vegetable dishes it can be cooked several hours in advance and reheated over low heat.

  • 3 lbs. small white boiling onions
  • 4 T. (1/2 stick butter)
  • 1/3 C. wine vinegar
  • 1/4 C sugar
  • beef broth
  • S & P


  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, drop in the onions, cook for 2 minutes. Drain and cool under running water. When cool enough to handle, slip off the outside skin, shave off the root and cut a small X into the root end to keep the onion from falling apart while cooking.
  2. Put the onions into a large sauté pan that will hold them in one layer. Add the butter and enough broth to come up to about 1 in. up the side of the pan. Turn the heat to medium and cook until the onions begin to soften. If the broth begins to boil away add water to prevent the liquid from evaporating. Turn the onions periodically so that they do not stick.
  3. When the onions are beginning to soften, add the vinegar, sugar, S & P. Turn the heat down to low and continue cooking on a low simmer. Turn the onions and add more water if liquid is needed. The onions are done when they are soft (tender when pierced with a knife) and have become a rich golden brown color. Serve warm with the pan juices.