A rich "poor" dish
If you are an onion lover you cannot miss this recipe and its history. The Friggione it is an ancient dish of peasant culture: in fact, before going to work in the fields, or during the midday break, the laborers spread it on a slice of bread or rather a slice of roasted polenta. Why the name Friggione? From "Frizàn" or "frizòn" that is to fry, because the preparation requires the onions to fry for a long time over low heat.
The original recipe dates back to 1886 by Mrs. Maria Manfredi Baschieri who wrote it down in her cookbook. This recipe is registered with the Bologna Chamber of Commerce, which protects the historical and cultural roots of traditional Bolognese dishes. In the original recipe, white onions were used. Finely cut, they were left to fry over a very low heat in lard, with a pinch of sugar and coarse salt, and then cooked for a long time together with fresh peeled tomatoes. A small precaution: the onions must macerate for at least two hours so that they release the vegetation water (which will still be used in cooking).
Subsequently in 2010 a new version was filed, which included some variations: the onion is no longer white but yellow, and in particular the golden onion of Medicina (BO) is recommended, which has a more delicate flavor. In addition to this small variant, two ingredients have been added: bacon and even a hint of chilli.
It is not complicated to prepare but you must not be in a hurry, because the onion must be well stewed and well blended with the tomato sauce at the end.
There are many variations of this recipe depending on the areas in which it is prepared but today I will give you a variant without lard and without bacon also suitable for vegetarians, like the one on sale in our shop.
- 1 kg of yellow onion
- 500 g of ripe tomatoes, previously blanched, peeled and cut into squares
- 1 teaspoon of sugar
- 2 tablespoons of EVO oil
- chili pepper to taste
- Salt to taste
- Clean and slice them thinly. Transfer them to a bowl with a teaspoon of sugar and one of salt and leave to macerate for about two hours.
- Put the onions with their liquid in a pan with the oil and let them simmer for about half an hour over low heat.
- Add the tomatoes and cook again over low heat for at least 1 hour (if necessary, add water or broth).
- Towards the end of cooking, add a pinch of red pepper and season with salt. The result must be a creamy and not too dry sauce, rather a little greasy just like the Bolognese sauce.
How to combine it? Well as they say in Bologna, “al frizàn l é bòn con tot”, that is, “friggione is good with everything”. It can therefore be used as a side dish for meat dishes, such as boiled meat, or with a nice polenta. It can also be served on croutons as an appetizer or as a condiment for tigelle. If you want you can dare a little and use it as a sauce for fresh tagliatelle… but never let a Bolognese know! To accompany it, I recommend a nice glass of Emilia-Romagna red wine, such as Sparkling Gutturnio