This side dish was created in Emilia, and it is the perfect complement to a vast variety of roasted meats, such as beef braised in Barolo wine.

It is a unique side dish, rich in fibre without the boring stigma associated with “healthy” foods.

In order to peel the onions, I found an American recipe that blanches them in a pot of boiling water followed by immersing them in a bowl of cold water to stop them from cooking. The temperature shift makes them easier to peel. In Italy, I usually find them peeled.

Prep Time: 5 minutes | Cooking Time: 25 minutes | Total Time: 30 minutes | Yield: Makes 4 servings.



  • 1 kg – 2.2 lbs Borettane onions, peeled
  • 60 g – 1/3 cup sugar
  • 300 g – 1½ cups water
  • 150 g – ¾ cup balsamic vinegar
  • 3 tbsp olive oil




In a non-stick pan, heat the olive oil and add the onions. Brown the onions and add the sugar. Stir to melt the sugar, and when onions are caramelized add the vinegar and cook for a few minutes, until most of it evaporates. Add the water, stir gently and cook for 10 minutes, then cover with a lid and cook for 10 more minutes.

Test with a fork; the onions are ready when they are soft.

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