Soffritto comes from the Italian verb “soffriggere“, which means “to stir fry” or “sauté”. Not the main actor yet crucial as a basic cooking technique in many recipes, Soffritto is a typical Italian preparation made with three classic veggies: onion, carrot. celery diced or finely chopped, then stir-fried in Extra Virgin Olive Oil or butter.
It is used to cook dishes based on Tomato sauce, Ragù, Risotto, Minestrone or meat-based second courses like Braises or even in fish-based dishes.
Depending on what you are going to make then, you can also add aromatics such as garlic, rosemary, thyme or bay.
However, we also want to give credit to another herb that is usually discarded: celery leaves. Minced and added to Soffritto are really incredible.
Said that, the fundamental rule to obtain an excellent Soffritto is cooking vegetables very gently by giving them time to soften and to season without burning.
Celery, carrot and onion are available all year round, this is also one of the reasons why these are almost always the vegetables chosen. However, you can prepare Soffritto even only with onion and sometimes shallots come into play if you don’t have onion. What about red onion? Well, of course, just a slightly stronger taste.
Whatever the choice between onion and shallot, all of the three vegetables of Soffritto should be put in a pan together, browned over low heat and being stirred often for at least 10 mins. They don’t have to become dark, they remain shiny, not for an aesthetic reason but for a taste reason, because it could burn and becomes bitter or the onion could have taken over.
At the end of cooking, you can add white wine or water to blend.
How do you store vegetables to make Soffritto?
Cut the vegetables separately and dry them well with kitchen paper. Freeze them wide and not stacked one on top of the other on small trays, then dice them well separated, then gather them in jars or ice trays.
Tip: Soffritto on its own can also become such a simple yet excellent seasoning for pasta!