Starters

Certaldo onion tart with carbonara sauce

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Difficulty
Medium
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Preparation
60 minutes
schedule
Cook
10 minutes
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Serves
6

Certaldo is a picturesque medieval hamlet situated approximately 35 kilometres southwest of Florence. Giovanni Boccaccio, the famous Italian poet, was born here. In addition to its medieval charm and link with the Tuscan poet, Certaldo is also famous for a special type of onion that grows in its fields: the Cipolla di Certaldo.

This vegetable is closely linked to the town’s image. The onion appears on the municipal coat of arms created in the 12th century (a split shield, white and red, surmounted by an onion in a white background with the motto: Per natura sono forte e dolce ancora / e piaccio a chi sta e a chi lavora [By nature I am yet sweet and strong / I please those who stay and work]).

Certaldo onion tart with a glass of Chianti Classico wine
Certaldo onion tart with a glass of Chianti Classico wine

Certaldo onion is mildly flavoured, round in shape and flattened at the edges and is violet-red in colour. The first time I tasted a Certaldo onion was in a special onion tart at La Leggenda dei Frati restaurant in Siena. I remember this dish was an unforgettable experience for my taste buds, so I asked Filippo and Ombretta, the restaurant chefs, if I could photograph it being made, write the recipe (and try the tart again, of course :))

Certaldo onion tart ingredients
Certaldo onion tart ingredients
Ingredients

For the tart:

  • Phyllo dough 300g
  • Certaldo onions 500g (if you can't find Certaldo onion, use simple red onions)
  • Brown sugar 50g
  • Red wine vinegar 50g
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Red wine 25 g
  • 50g butter
  • Egg white n ° 2
  • Cream 200ml
  • Milk 200ml
  • Parmesan 100g

For the sauce: 

  • Egg yolks 2
  • Cream 200 ml
  • Milk 200 ml
  • Starch 10 g
  • Bacon 100g
  • Pepper to taste
Method

 

<br />Overlay three sheets of phyllo dough, brushing melted butter between the sheets.

Overlay three sheets of phyllo dough, brushing melted butter between the sheets.
<br />Put them in an aluminium mold, giving them the shape of a pie.

Put them in an aluminium mold, giving them the shape of a pie. Bake at 170°C for 10 minutes with a weight inside (for example, dried beans).
<br />Remove from the oven, let cool and remove the weight.

Remove from the oven, let cool and remove the weight.
<br />Slice the onions and put them in a pan with extra-virgin olive oil and a knob of butter.<br />Immediately add half the portion of the sugar and let the onions caramelize.

Slice the onions and put them in a pan with extra-virgin olive oil and a knob of butter.
Immediately add half the portion of the sugar and let the onions caramelize.
<br />Add the bay leaves

Add the bay leaves
<br />Add the remaining sugar dissolved in vinegar and wine and lightly fry the onions at low heat. Let stand one hour and then drain the excess liquid.

Add the remaining sugar dissolved in vinegar and wine and lightly fry the onions at low heat. Let stand one hour and then drain the excess liquid.
<br />Whisk the egg whites and add them to the onions. Then add some Parmesan. 

Whisk the egg whites and add them to the onions. Then add some Parmesan. 
<br />Place the mixture into the tarts and bake at 185°C for about 10 minutes.

Place the mixture into the tarts and bake at 185°C for about 10 minutes.
<br />Now you can prepare the carbonara sauce: in a saucepan, cook over low heat the egg yolks, the milk, the cream and the starch until a smooth, creamy and foamy mixture is obtained. Season with pepper. Then, fry the bacon.

Now you can prepare the carbonara sauce: in a saucepan, cook over low heat the egg yolks, the milk, the cream and the starch until a smooth, creamy and foamy mixture is obtained. Season with pepper. Then, fry the bacon.
<br />Place the sauce in the centre of a dish, add the crispy bacon, serve the tart and finally grate a bit of Parmesan.

Place the sauce in the centre of a dish, add the crispy bacon, serve the tart and finally grate a bit of Parmesan.
<br />Enjoy your tart with a glass of Chianti Classico wine

Enjoy your tart with a glass of Chianti Classico wine

About Ombretta and Filippo Ombretta Giovannini and Filippo Saporito are husband and wife bu also the main chefs at La Leggenda dei Frati restaurant since 2002. Their cuisine is refined and simple at the same time and their dishes contain only seasonal and local ingredients.