Italian chef Davide Marzullo shares his vegetarian dish of onion stuffed with a Genovese sauce (a rich, onion-based pasta sauce) topped with bitter cocoa crumble and a Parmigiano-Reggiano mousse. The winning young chef recommends baking this simple and satisfying dish during the colder months of the year when it serves as a crowd-pleasing vegetarian appetiser.
Marzullo decided to make the humble onion the star of the dish, as it's an ingredient which he says is commonly found in the background of Italian recipes, yet rarely in the foreground. “I wanted to get involved and try to put it in the front row,” he says.
The multilayered onion also reminds him of his chef uncle who used to serve an onion sauce at his small restaurant back home. He now appreciates the nuances of the dish as a young adult, after reluctantly being served it as a child.
Marzullo also draws on a childhood fondness for laurel, other another native ingredient found in his homeland of Italy, which he smokes for the final garnish. “The scent of the laurel that releases the burnt leaves reminds me when I was little, my dad, who burned the laurel branches for the fireplace.”
Check out Marzullo's recipe in the simple step-by-step guide below: