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Caramelized Onion Agrodolce

Caramelized Onion Agrodolce

Garth Brown |

Caramelized Onion Agrodolce

An agrodolce is a sauce that combines tart (agro) and sweet (dolce). Rather than use sugar or honey, this recipe relies on the natural sweetness of slowly caramelized onions. Dry red wine and a splash of balsamic vinegar provide a nice balance, making a sauce with flavors that are at once bright and rich.

One note about caramelizing onions – there is no way to make this go fast. it can go faster if you use a slightly higher heat, stir constantly, and deglaze aggressively, but there is no way to actually make it go fast. Hurry too much and you’ll just end up with scorched onions. Be patient!

Caramelized Onion Agrodolce

This agrodolce pairs the sweetness of caramelized onions with dry red wine, vinegar, and olive oil. A perfect companion for pork chops or anything else that needs a kick of flavor.
Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Keyword agrodolce, sauce
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Servings 8
Author Garth Brown


  • 2 lbs. yellow onions sliced thin
  • 2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 1 cup Montepulciano or other medium-bodied, dry red wine
  • 1 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
  • ½ tsp. salt


  • Put butter, oil, and sliced onions in a large pan. Cook over medium-high heat until onions just start sizzling, then reduce heat to medium low and cover with a lid. Cook, stirring regularly, until the onions are well wilted.
  • Remove lid. Continue cooking, stirring regularly, until onions begin to brown. When you notice them starting to stick add a splash of water and stir vigorously. This will help the sugars brown without scorching. Repeat until onion are fully caramelized, which will take an hour at least. DO NOT RUSH!
  • Add wine, vinegar, and salt, bring to a simmer, and cook, stirring, until the sauce thickens, about ten minutes.
  • Taste to check seasoning, then add pepper and more salt as needed. Serve with pork chops, chicken thighs, roasted squash, or just about anything else you can think of.


This makes quite a bit of agrodolce. It will keep for about a week in the fridge and for several months in the freezer.

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