Friday, October 10, 2008


Italy's culinary bible for home chefs is a cookbook called The Silver Spoon. In recent years it has been translated into English, and some friends gave it to me as a going away gift when I changed jobs in August. This epicurean tome probably weighs five pounds, but it covers everything. Do you want to know how to fix scorpion fish? The Silver Spoon has it covered.

The cookbook's section on vegetables is phenomenal with recipes that make the most unlikely vegetable very tempting: turnips with bacon (well, bacon does make everything better), peas with pancetta (close enough to bacon), Parmesan turnip greens, and so on.

I decided to try stuffed onions first. The picture looked pretty, and I had a bag of onions in the fridge that needed to be used. The Italian name for the recipe is cipolle alla grossetana, so it was translated as grosseto onions. I don't know what that means but it was easy to fix and very tasty.

1. Peel four large onions. Cook in salted boiling water for 15 minutes. Drain and cool. Using a knife, scoop out the flesh in the center of the onion and save it to be chopped later. You should have four onion shells. Do not try doing this with hot onions.

2. Combine in a bowl 1 1/2 c. lean ground beef (or veal but I buy beef from the farmers' market so I use theat), 1 Italian sausage removed from casing, 2 T freshly grated Parmesan, 2 t olive oil, 1 egg lightly beaten, pinch of nutmeg. Season with salt and pepper.

3. Stuff the onions with the meat mixture. Put the onions in a deep pan. Pour 1 c. of beef stock around the onions. I poured in some white wine for good measure too. Put the lid on. Simmer over medium low heat for 30 minutes.

Serve the onions on a plate and pour any remaining sauce over them. When no one is looking, sop up the yummy sauces and meat drippings with a great piece of bread.

I had leftover stuffing that I put in the freezer. This meat stuffing would be great in bell peppers, zucchini, or artichokes too.

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