Emilia Romagna Italian Regional Recipes Starters

Friggione, Traditional Marinated Onion with Tomato Sauce from Bologna

Friggione, salsa tradizionale di pomodoro e cipolle marinate, originated as a peasant dish, part of cucina povera of Bologna, today considered one of the excellences of the traditional Bolognese cuisine.

It is basically a full-bodied sauce made with white onions marinated and cooked for many hours along with tomato sauce o peeled tomatoes and lard, nowadays replaced with Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Friggione is considered either as a starter since is often served as condiment for bruschetta, one of the main Italian antipasti which consist in toasted bread slices, or as side dish often served with polenta.

Depending on the Emilian cities, Friggione has different interpretations. In Modena City for example they add peppers or even potatoes.


Serves 3-4, Preparation 20 mins, Cooking about 6 hrs

  • White onions, 1 kg
  • Coarse salt 1 teaspoon
  • Sugar, 1 tablespoon
  • peeled tomatoes or tomato sauce, 300 g/ml
  • lard, 1 tablespoon or EVOO – Extra Virgin Olive Oil, 2 tablespoons
  • salt and black pepper, to taste

Method

Thinly slice the onions.

Place the onions in a bowl with the coarse salt and sugar and leave to macerate for at least 4 hours. You will notice that they will begin to darken a bit and pull out their water. It’s okay, just stir them occasionally.

Heat a tbsp of EVOO or lard in a pan, pour the onions together with their water.
Cook for 2 hours, stirring occasionally.

After this time, add the tomato sauce or peeled tomatoes and cooking further for 1 hour.

At the end of cooking, add salt and pepper to taste.

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