the 3-ingredient secret to delicious sauces--soffrito

Coming at you today with a real killer. Seriously, this will crank your food up a couple of notches. You’ll have everyone asking you what your secret is. Soffrito! So basically, soffrito is a combination of onion, celery and carrot that is frequently used in Italian food. In France they call it mirepoix, and there are tons of other variations too. You may well have heard of the “holy trinity” in Cajun cooking. It’s basically the same as soffrito, but with bell peppers in place of the carrots. In Spain, they call it sofrito and use tomatoes.

This is the kind of thing that you can make a big batch of, then keep freeze it in ice cube trays and keep it in the freezer for easy access. You can pop it into stews, braises, pasta sauces, bolognese, gumbo, the list just goes on. Anything where you want to add some real umami notes and depth of flavour. It will also help thicken up your sauce, and sneak in some extra veg! Perfect.

Because I’m lazy and can’t always be bothered to practice my knife skills, I like to keep things simple and throw all the veg in the food processor. This also ensures that you get a soffrito that will blend into your sauce really well, you won’t be getting any chunks of carrot in there!

Give this a go when you’ve got a bunch of veg in your fridge that have seen better days, pop it in the freezer and prepare to be dazzled. Your food is going to taste rich, layered and nuanced, and with only 3 ingredients! Or 4, if like me, you can’t resist a bit of garlic in there. For all the millennials out there, garlic is great for your immune system, it’s basically the old new superfood.


  • Serves: 2 cups
  • Time:
    • Prep: 5 mins
    • Cook: 40 mins


  • 1 large white onion
  • 4 medium carrots
  • 4 sticks celery
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 5 cloves garlic (optional)
  • 2 tsp kosher salt


  1. Throw the onion, garlic, celery and carrot in the food processor and blend until smooth.
  2. Heat 2 tbsp of the oil over a medium high heat in a frying pan with a lid. Add all the veg and the salt. Stir well.
  3. Keep stirring frequently until most of the water has been driven out, about 10 minutes. Turn the heat down to medium low and stir occasionally for another 20 minutes.
  4. If it is sticking, add a little more oil. Pop the lid on and cook for another 10-15 minutes.
  5. Remove from the heat, let cool and either use right away, or freeze in ice cube trays. When the soffrito has frozen, pop the cubes in a ziplock bag in the freezer. It will keep for up to 3 months frozen or a week in the fridge.
Written on September 30, 2017