Cipollata in Tazza

Thick Onion Soup in a Cup


Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves


Appears in

The Italian Regional Cookbook

The Italian Regional Cookbook

By Valentina Harris

Published 2017

  • About

The point of this simple soup is that it celebrates the famous onion of the little town of Cannara, a town and comune on the Topino River in the floodplain of central Umbria, in the province of Perugia. Its importance is celebrated every year since 1981 by a 2-week long onion festival. The local cultivation of this unique onion has a long history and its special properties are put down to the soil of this area, which is rich in potassium and clay, with plenty of water. The producers are small family farmers, who pass the secrets and techniques from father to son, sometimes for four or more generations. A Consortium dedicated to the onion was created in 2003 to protect and promote the producers of the Cannara onion. This very simple, rustic soup is thick, tasty and nourishing and does work well with any kind of onion.


  • 45-60 ml/3-4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 75 g/3 oz lardo, chopped finely
  • 1.6 kg/3 ½ lb Cannara or other onions, peeled and thinly sliced
  • a handful of fresh basil leaves, torn into small pieces
  • 500 g/1 ¼ lb tomatoes, blanched, peeled, deseeded and chopped
  • 1 litre/1 ¾ pints/4 cups water
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 75 ml/5 tbsp freshly grated pecorino cheese
  • sea salt and ground black pepper
  • toasted bread croûtons, to serve (optional)


  1. In a deep pan, heat the oil with the chopped lardo over a medium-high heat until sizzling, then add the sliced onions, the basil and seasoning.

  2. Stir, cover and cook very slowly for about 1 hour: the onions must not brown at all. If necessary, add a little hot water during the cooking process.
  3. When the onions are almost falling apart, add the tomatoes and water, stir, and adjust seasoning. Simmer for a further 1 hour.

  4. Remove from the heat and stir vigorously as you trickle in the beaten eggs and the freshly grated pecorino cheese.

  5. Serve piping hot in big, wide cups, as is traditional, with toasted bread croûtons, if you like.