This Italian Soffritto is such a simple thing, just sautéed onion, celery and carrot, yet it will add so much flavor to your food.
Today we’re sharing a few tips and tricks to help you get it just right…
What is Soffritto?
Soffritto is a simple sauté of three aromatic vegetables: onion, carrot and celery in olive oil. It is used as a starting point for many recipes.
It has many cousins around the world, the most similar being the French mirepoix, which consists of the same three vegetables cooked in butter.
Cajun and Creole cuisines have their holy trinity, which substitutes bell peppers for the carrot.
Then there is sofrito in Latin America, which has a number of variations, our favorite being Puerto Rican Sofrito.
As mentioned above, the only ingredients needed for Soffritto are:
- Olive Oil
You will want approximately the same amount of each vegetable. Rather than go by the number of each one, as sizes vary, they should be roughly equal after chopping.
How to Make Soffritto
The first step is to chop the vegetables. Though this sounds like a no brainer, the size you chop them into will depend on what you are making with the soffritto.
For a soup, we prefer larger chunks, to give some bite and heartiness to the soup. In the case of today’s soffritto, we are dicing our vegetables a bit smaller, as you can see in the picture. This is great for sauces like ragu.
The soffritto can also be minced in a food processor or with a mezzaluna. This preparation is best when you want the flavors without the added texture.
TIP: Whichever size you choose for your soffritto, it should be fairly uniform, such that everything cooks at the same pace.
Once the vegetables are chopped, heat olive oil over medium heat in a pot or skillet (depending on what you are making with your soffritto), then add the vegetables.
Reduce heat to medium low, and sauté till they are soft and fragrant. The cooking time will depend on how finely the soffritto is cut.
TIP: Do not be tempted to rush your soffritto by turning up the heat. You do not want to brown the vegetables, but simply soften them.
Many chefs choose to personalize their soffritto. Possible additions include garlic, fresh herbs and white wine.
Storage and Make Ahead Instructions
If you plan on using soffritto regularly, you can make a big batch ahead of time. It refrigerates well in an airtight container for 5-6 days.
You can freeze it, too. First, let it cool completely. For chunkier soffritto, freeze it on a sheet pan or baking dish, then transfer to a freezer bag once frozen.
For minced soffritto, portion it out in an ice cube tray. After the soffritto cubes have frozen, transfer to a freezer bag.
Start your Italian night off on the right foot, and master this basic soffritto cooking technique. It’s amazing what flavors such simple and humble ingredients can add to your food.
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And stay tuned. In our next post, we’ll show you how to use your soffritto to make an authentic ragu sauce. Until then…
Italian Soffritto, on our Gypsy Plate… enjoy!
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 2 medium carrots, peeled and diced
- 2 celery stalks, diced
- 1 small onion, diced
- Heat oil in a skillet or pot over medium heat.
- Add the vegetables, reduce heat to medium low, and sauté till they are soft and fragrant. The cooking time will depend on how finely the soffritto is cut.
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