Soffritto, an aromatic mix of onion, carrot and celery, is the base for most sauces, soups, stews and braises in Italian cuisine. A ratio of 2:1:1 of onion, carrot and celery is generally agreed on, but some regions of Italy prefer to include other aromatics such as garlic, parsley, rosemary and bay. In some instances, bacon or pancetta is also added for an even richer flavour base.
Soffitto is the Italian word for ‘fried slowly’, as after the vegetables have been finely diced they are then gently cooked in a generous amount of olive oil and sometimes butter. Traditionally chopped with a mezzaluna and stirred with a wooden spoon, the soffritto should be cooked until dorata (golden brown). Doing so releases all the flavours from the vegetables, resulting in a rich basis to begin any dish.