Cipolle alla Grossetana

Stuffed onions Grosseto style

This recipe has hundreds of variations in the Maremma. Some cooks substitute half a finely chopped chili pepper for the nutmeg & cinnamon, some add ½ oz/15 g dried mushrooms, soaked, squeezed out & chopped. Whatever variation you use, these onions make a good lunch for a cold winter’s day.


  • 4 large or 8 small white onions
  • 4 oz/125 g lean beef, ground or minced
  • butter
  • olive oil
  • salt & pepper
  • ¼ tsp nutmeg
  • 4 oz/125 g ground spicy sausage
  • 1 egg
  • 1 wine glass dry white wine
  • 4 tbsp grated pecorino or parmesan cheese*
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon


Peel the onions and boil until slightly softened in salted water (about 10 minutes). Trim enough off one end so the onions will stand upright. Remove a little of the other end & most of the inside, leaving just a shell. Chop the remaining onion finely & saute in butter with the beef and sausage until brown. Stir in the spices and wine. When the wine has nearly evaporated, turn off the heat and leave to cool. Then mix the sauce with egg and cheese and stuff the onion shells with this. Bake at a moderate heat, 350°F/180°C/Gas 4, in an oiled baking dish for about 25 minutes until brown, moistening with water or stock if the onions seem to be burning.

*It is also good to serve this dish with several tablespoons of bechamel sauce instead of cheese.