Thursday, January 10, 2013

Soffritto - An Essential of the Italian/Tuscan Kitchen

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Here's an Italian word you may hear... Soffritto.  As a verb, it is to fry slightly.

As a noun, a Soffritto is a mix of lightly fried onions and vegetables used in cooking.

In an Italian Tuscan kitchen, a Soffritto is an essential.  Used as a base in soups, mixed in with meat dishes, sauces and so much more.  Add bread crumbs and stuff tomatoes for an easy quick lunch or Contorni (vegetable) course.  Chop a tomato and add a cup of Soffritto, a little more sauteing and you have a fast easy Sunday night Sugo (sauce) for pasta.

Can you tell I am immersing myself in Italian style cooking, reading and trying to grasp the basics as I continue my year long adventures into Italian living (in a Kansas Kitchen).

I am coming from a little bit of knowledge.  In New Orleans, The Trinity of Onions, Bell Peppers and Celery is considered Gospel for Cajun/Creole cooking.  In France, Mirepoix is very similar to the Italian Soffritto.  In Italy, Olive Oil is used as the fat, while in France, they saute in butter.

OK, knowledgeable purest out there will notice right away that the size of the vegetables in my photos are too large.  Traditionally the vegetables should be finely minced.  Better to add to flavor a soup or sauce.  Small enough to flavor, but not "stew" sized.  But I was planning to use this for a different reason, so just assume the pieces are small.

Here's how to make a Soffritto ...


  • 1/4 Cup Extra Virgin olive Oil
  • 1 Medium Red Onion, minced
  • 1 Large Carrot, minced
  • 1 Large Celery Stalk, Minced
  • 1 Handful Fresh Parsley, Chopped
  • Pinch of Salt
  • A couple turns of a fresh Pepper grinder
Cooking Directions
  1. Over MEDIUM LOW heat, Saute the vegetables until they begin to color and just start to turn tender, 5-7 minutes.
  2. Making larger batches and freeze in 1 cup portions to use in a quick lunch or soup.
  3. ENJOY!
OK, as I said, I am used to cooking Cajun food, so right away I am comparing tastes.  Difference between a Soffritto and the Cajun Trinity is the carrot replaces a bell pepper.  So, what does a sauted carrot add that the bell pepper does not???  A rustic sweetness.  The slow and low temperature helps bring out the sweetness in the mix.  Definatly a different taste.

How exciting...

Cooking with a Soffritto can become addictive.

While I am doing my best to immerse myself in Italian cooking, recently I was planning a stuffed pepper dinner.  I have done a couple of posts on stuffed peppers, so these were just for consumption, not really planned to do a blog post.

But then I started pondering....

If I had a batch of Soffritto, would would happen when I added some to my stuffed pepper recipe...

Something delicious.  So I give you... Italiano farcite peperone con soffritto ala Kansas

Or, in English, "Italian Stuffed Peppers with Soffritto in the style of Kansas".

Near as I can tell, I have not yet found a stuffed pepper recipe from an Italian kitchen.  I am sure they do make the dish, just have not yet seen how they do it.

So, not going to include this in my listing of Italian recipes, but I will be making a blog post of this soon.  It is wonderful... Italian sausage, mozzarella cheese and the slightly sweet Soffritto used to flavor the rice...

Well, come back tomorrow and I will have the non-Italian but WONDERFUL recipe for you.

But wait... there's more...

Remember when I said to make a large batch to freeze... When you have those bags handy, imagine a meatloaf muffin. Or how about as a topping for my wife's annual attempt to make a whipped Cauliflower that doesn't taste like paste (no, unless you LOAD it up with butter and cream, you will never get cauliflower to taste like potatoes... NEVER... but I digress)

Again, hardly Italian (that I know of), but will be worth a blog post soon.


So,  I am pleased to list this as one of my Growing list of  "52 Authentic Italian Recipes"!!!

Well over 52 recipes actually as I just can't stop. The world's most popular cuisine, authentic, natural, organic, Farm to Table... the Italians started, perfected or embraced it before it became a fad. This page is a guide to Italian Cooking... For the home cook!  So, Cin Cin (toast) and Buon Appetito (Enjoy your Meal) to you all and let's Cook authentic Italian!


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