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Cipollata calabrese

Calabrian Style Braised Red Onions
Cook Time1 hr
Servings: 4


  • 1 kilo (2 lbs) red onions, peeled and sliced
  • 300 ml (10 fl oz) water
  • olive oil
  • Salt to taste
  • hot red pepper flakes to taste

To serve:

  • Grilled or toasted bread
  • Black olives optional
  • Grated pecorino cheese optional


  • Peel the onions, trim off their root ends, and cut them in half lengthwise. Remove the outmost layer if it looks tough or papery. Slice them lengthwise into thin strips.
  • Warm a good pour of olive oil in a Dutch oven or terracotta casserole, the add the sliced onions and a pinch of salt. Let the onions sauté over moderate heat for about 5 minutes or so, until they have wilted and turned translucent. They should have reduced in volume by almost half.
  • Pour in the water and bring the pot to a simmer. Cover and turn down the heat to low. Let the onions simmer, covered, for 30-45 minutes, or until they are very soft and translucent. Add water from time to time if the onions seems to be drying out.
  • Sprinkle on the red pepper flakes, as much as you care for. Let everything simmer for a few more minutes, uncovered, before serving.
  • The dish should be served quite wet, but not quite a soup. Add more liquid if it looks too dry and, conversely, raise the heat boil off any excess liquid.
  • Garnish if you like with black olives and/or a good grating of pecorino cheese, with grilled or toasted bread on the side.