Rice stuffed baked onions
This can be modifed to serve as a vegetarian dish, simply by substituting pine nuts for the proscuittio.
4 large brown onions, as firm as you can find
4 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp diced prosciutto or pine nuts, to make a vegetarian version
100g risotto rice
1 tbsp raisins
6-8 saffron threads, soaked in 1 tbsp boiling water
½ tsp grated lemon zest
1 large egg, lightly beaten
150ml dry white wine
Boil a large pan of water. Add the onions (unpeeled but washed). They must be submerged. Return to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Drain the onions, saving the water. Peel when cool enough to handle. Slice off the tops and trim the bases flat. Remove the heart of each onion, with a sharp knife, leaving 2–3 layers of onion to form a cup. Chop the scooped-out onion. You'll need half of it (you can freeze the rest for later)..
Preheat the oven to 180°C, gas mark 4. Heat 3 tbsp oil in a deep pan over a medium heat. Add the chopped onion and prosciuttio (for vegetarians, use pine nuts). Fry for 2 minutes or till the onion begins to colour. Add the rice and stir for 2–3 minutes. Add the raisins, saffron and water, lemon zest and 300ml of the onion water. Simmer for 12–15 minutes, stirring, until the rice has absorbed most of the liquid but is still al dente. Season with salt and pepper. Cool a little, then mix in the egg. Spoon mixture into the onions.
Heat a baking dish with 1 tbsp oil. Add the onions. Bake for 10 minutes. Add the wine and enough of the onion water to come half-way up the onions. Cover with foil. Bake for 40–60 minutes, or until tender. Remove the foil for the last 10 minutes, and baste the onions with the juices.
Serve the onions (leaving the excess liquid behind), with dark green veg, eg broccoli, Spring Greens etc.