A rustic Italian vegetable dish stuffed with a large portion of pork sausage meat, as all vegetables should be. Serve these with any pork roast instead of stuffing on the side. The sauce makes an excellent gravy.

METHOD

Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas mark 4.

Peel the onions, taking off the outside dark skins, plus one layer of soft inner skin. Trim a couple of centimetres off the top of the onion but keep the root end intact.

Rub the onions with pork dripping, season with salt and pepper and place in a casserole with a lid.

Remove the leaves from the thyme and set aside.

Smash the head of garlic, then add to the casserole with the thyme stalks and pork broth.

Cover the casserole and bake for 1 hour, or until a knife pierces the onions easily.

Remove from the oven and leave to sit for 30 minutes, then remove the onions and gently scoop out (and reserve) thecentres, making sure to leave several layers andkeeping the onion shape intact

Soak the breadcrumbs in the milk, then mix with the sausage meat and Parmesan.

Fill each onion with the sausage mixture and return to the casserole with the scooped-out centres of the onions and the double cream. Scatter with the reserved thyme leaves and return to the oven, uncovered, for 30 minutes, basting the tops of the onions every 5 or so minutes to allow the sauce to seep in.

Remove the onions to a serving dish, then pass the sauce through a fine sieve. Serve the onions with the sauce poured over the top