Monday, February 06, 2006

Cipolline alla Senape Arancione – Spring Onions with Dijon Mustard Sauce

We had the wonderful opportunity to celebrate the Al’s birthday, one of our cooking buddies, last night. Raffaella and I were in charge of the dinner and had been thinking about the dinner all week. He had requested cannelloni but we still needed to come up with a first course that would properly compliment the dinner. We also decided that we wanted to share two of our favorite wines that we had been saving for a special occasion.

Both wines are Gaja, a 1998 Barbaresco and a 1997 Sori Tildin. John, our wine guy in the group, provided various other great wines before and after. We had been thinking about this combination all week, an onion soup, peppers with olive, capers and mozzarella, stuffed tomatoes, our choice fell on a traditional dish from Piemonte just like the filling and sauce for the cannelloni.

This is an antipasti dish. Antipasti are often substituted for first or second course plates in a dinner so this would compliment both the cannelloni that we would prepare or would do marvelously with the Brasato al Barolo instead of a first course dish. The preparation is not difficult but does take some time so begin early. This plate can be prepared the day before and then heated before serving.


16 Spring Onions (medium)
200 grams pancetta (½ lb bacon) – cut into small cubes
3 cups of dry white wine
2 tablespoons of flour
2 carrots - shredded
2 tablespoons of Dijon Mustard
1 cup of heavy cream
Butter, Olive Oil, Salt and Pepper

Preparation Spring Onions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Remove the outer skin of the onions and place them in a casserole pan with high sides. Add 2 tablespoons of Olive Oil and 2 cups of wine. Salt and pepper moderately and place in the oven. Allow to cook until the wine has reduced by 90%. This will take about 90 minutes. Check after 60 minutes, it is important that the onion do not lose their structure.

Preparation of the Sauce:

Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a medium sized pot. Sprinkle the flour over the shredded carrots and toss to distribute the flour. Saute’ the carrots with the Dijon mustard. Add salt and pepper and allow the sauce to become dense.

In a separate pot sear the pancetta with a tablespoon of olive oil. Add the remaining cup of wine and completely reduce.

Remove the pancetta and add the heavy cream. Bring to temperature and add to the carrot mixture. With a mini-pimer or soup mixer reduce to an even texture.


Serve the onions medium warm to hot, with two spoons move an entire onion onto the individual plate and pour the carrot-wine sauce over onion and serve immediately.

Accompany this dish with a hearty red wine.


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