Soffritto - the backbone of flavour in Italian cooking

Soffritto - the backbone of flavour in Italian cooking
Preparation time: 15 min Cooking time: 40 min Easy - for beginners Serves: -


This is a basic but very important step in Italian cooking


  • Carrots
  • Golden or White onions
  • Celery
  • Extra Virigin Olive Oil
  • Optional - Garlic


We will call for œsoffritto in many of the recipes that we will publish, and so it is explained here¦

It is basically the Italian version mirepoix and forms the flavour backbone of many Italian dishes, including ragù, various risottos and soups.

In simple terms this is made up of equal quantities of diced green celery, carrot, and onion. It may also include garlic, leeks, and shallots. Never add basil or parsley, as the heat will destroy the basil™s flavour and turn parsley bitter. It is always better to add garlic toward the end of cooking “ if your garlic gets too dark it will leave a pungent bitter flavour in your dish that is impossible to cover up “ and so it™s soffritto from scratch if that happens!

Whilst it is better to chop the ingredients by hand you could put the celery and the carrots separately into the food processor and chop them up. It is still better to chop the onion by hand as the food processor causes the onion to release water “ and this is a disaster for your soffritto.

Soffritto is always fried in extra virgin olive oil “ and never butter. How much soffritto you need will be determined by the recipe, but don™t be shy with the olive oil!

In order to develop the flavours, the soffritto needs to be fried on a medium heat so that the vegetables brown slowly and you achieve caramelisation. The level of browning depends on the dish “ for a light broth, you would want the soffritto light golden brown, and a rich golden brown for meat dishes.

After you have completed with this step the recipe usually continues with adding the rest of the ingredients.

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Main  · Soup  · Pasta  · Italian  · Appetizer  · Lasagna  · Bolognaise

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