Monday, July 16, 2012


One of my favorite summer produce items is the red bell pepper. I typically just munch on it raw but I also love the sweet flavor it adds to any cooked dish. A soffritto is a great example of this. This simple sauce is the perfect addition to any soup, pasta or even just a pita. This recipe makes extra soffritto so you can freeze it for an easy dish later. We took the first half cup and made a delicious appetizer. I've included both recipes below.

Soffritto (adapted from BonAppetit)


2-3 medium onions, chopped

1 red bell pepper, chopped

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil plus more

Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper

garlic cloves, finely grated

2 teaspoons tomato paste


Pulse onions in a food processor until finely chopped but not puréed (you should have about 2 cups). Transfer to a medium bowl. Pulse bell pepper in processor until finely chopped but not puréed (you should have about 1 cup); add to bowl and mix well.

Heat oil in a large heavy skillet over medium heat. Add onion mixture (it may splatter) and season with salt and pepper. Simmer, stirring often, until vegetables are completely softened, about 30 minutes. Add finely grated garlic and tomato paste and cook, stirring often, until tomato paste begins to turn deep red, about 3 minutes. This is your soffritto.  

Transfer remaining soffritto to a container and let cool completely, uncovered. Cover and store in refrigerator for up to 4 days or freeze for up to 3 months.

White Bean Ragout with Toast (adapted from BonAppetit)
Serves 4-6

4–6 1-inch-thick slices grilled or toasted ciabatta (or any other rustic bread)
8–10 tablespoons finely grated Parmesan, divided
1 garlic clove, halved
1/2 cup soffritto
2 cups cannellini (white kidney) beans*, rinsed and drained
cups vegetable broth
1 cup grape tomatoes, sliced
2 tablespoons chopped basil


Preheat oven to 375°. Rub bread slices with cut sides of the garlic clove. Place bread on a baking sheet and sprinkle 1 Tbsp. Parmesan over each slice. Toast until cheese begins to brown, about 5 minutes. Set aside.

Heat reserved 1/2 cup soffritto and beans in same skillet over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring often, until heated through, about 1 minute. Stir in 1 cup broth; bring to a boil. Simmer, scraping up browned bits, until liquid is slightly thickened, 3–4 minutes. Add tomatoes and remaining 1 cup broth; simmer until tomatoes are tender, 3–4 minutes. Stir in 2 Tbsp Parmesan. Season with salt and pepper.

Divide bread among bowls. Top with some bean mixture and broth. Garnish with remaining 2 Tbsp Parmesan and basil. Drizzle with oil, if desired.

*Cook your beans from scratch!

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