Please Pass the Sofrito
A year or two ago this would have been my answer if someone asked me to “please pass the Sofrito”. Then I ordered a Mediterranean Egg Sandwich at our local Panera Bread restaurant. I had no idea what a “Tomato Sofrito” was but I was willing to give it a chance. That’s all it took.
If you google “Sofrito”, you will quickly discover a wide range of results: some green, some red, some extra-“herby”, some spicy. The closest thing I could find to a definition was this from Wikipedia: a sauce … of aromatic ingredients cut into small pieces and sautéed in cooking oil. The “ingredients” used are determined by the influences of a particular region: Mediterranean, Spanish, Latin, Caribbean, Puerto Rican, South or Central American, or Italian.
What is consistent about Sofrito is that it makes an excellent rice or pasta addition, sandwich condiment, soup base, or omelette filling. No matter which flavor-direction you want to go, Sofrito will add that depth of flavor you want.
This particular version has an Italian flavor profile using thyme, rosemary and crushed red pepper. It pairs well with Parmesan cheese, prosciutto and roasted vegetables.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil extra virgin
- 4-5 cloves garlic minced
- 1 cup diced onion
- 16 ounces tomatoes diced
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
- 1 teaspoon Salt
- 1/2 teaspoon Black Pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper optional
- Heat olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat.
- Add garlic and onion and sauté 3-4 minutes.
- Add remaining ingredients and simmer until tomatoes break down, stirring frequently.
- Remove from heat and allow to cool. Sofrito should resemble a chunky jam.
- Fill a jar with the mixture and store in the refrigerator.
Based on that egg sandwich I loved, I made a killer grilled cheese sandwich using this recipe. Two slices of Italian-style bread, a layer of pesto, a pile of shredded cheddar, Gruyere, and Parmesan cheese, and a layer of Sofrito. Yes, it’s an indulgence. But it has vegetables!
The next day, I took about a cup of the Sofrito and used it to make this gorgeous (if I do say so myself) frittata. I added some shredded Gruyere and Parmesan and a sprinkle of Italian herbs to my basic frittata recipe and this was the result.
There is a small amount left in the jar in my refrigerator and I’m thinking it would make an excellent Bruschetta …
Please stay tuned!