Stuffed Onions

This is Anna Del Conte’s recipe for Scodelle di cipolle ripiene (doesn't that sound so much more delicious?) from Secrets from an Italian Kitchen. She has kindly allowed me to quote it in return for our recipe for the Peppers with Mozzarella and Anchovy, which she is including in her latest book.


  • 4 onions
  • 5 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 canned anchovy filets in oil, drained
  • 1 tbsp capers
  • 1 small dried chilli, deseeded 2 tsp dried oregano (preferably freeze-dried if available)
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 170g/6 oz canned tuna in oil, drained
  • 2 slices of white bread
  • 150ml/¼pt milk
  • 2 tbsp dried breadcrumbs
  • salt and pepper


  • saucepan
  • colander
  • ovenproof dish just large enough to hold the onion halves in one layer
  • 2 bowls
  • sauté pan


Mise en Place

Prepare the onions: peel and plunge them into boiling salted water. Cook for 15 minutes, until the outer leaves are soft but still slightly crunchy. Refresh in cold water, drain and leave to cool. When the onions are cool, cut them in half across the middle. Pull out the centres to make eight cups with the four outer leaves, reserving the other removed leaves. If you are left with a hole in the base, place another leaf in the bottom to seal it.

Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/gas6 and oil an ovenproof dish just big enough to hold the 8 onion cups. Sit them in the dish • Chop the anchovies, capers, chilli, oregano and garlic and mix in a bowl. Flake in the tuna • In another bowl, soak the bread in the milk for 5 minutes. Squeeze it dry and break it up with a fork.


Heat a spoonful of oil in a sauté pan. Chop the onion leaves removed from the centres and sauté them in the oil for a few minutes, taking care not to brown them. Add the bread, stir and continue to sauté for a couple of minutes before stirring in the tuna mixture.

Spoon this mixture into the onion cups, filling to just above the rim. Sprinkle with breadcrumbs, drizzle a little more oil over the tops of the onions and carefully pour a few tablespoons of water into the base of the dish to prevent burning and sticking. Bake for 30 minutes or until the top is golden.