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'Sufreit' (Soffritto) from Emilia-Romagna

A soffrito is an Italian flavor base that can be added to soups or stews. Spanish varieties might emphasize spicy flavors, but this one, from Emilia-Romagna, focuses on mushroom. Used with discrimination, a soffritto will give depth and subtlety to soups, stews and sauces.

  • 1/2 cup dried porcini mushrooms
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 5 large onions, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3/4 cup chopped parsley
  • 2 tablespoons chopped basil
  • 2 cups peeled and mashed tomatoes (or 1 two pound can)
  • 1/8 teaspoon cloves
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
  • Salt and pepper to taste


    Soak mushrooms in 1 1/2 cups lukewarm water.

    Heat olive oil in large frying pan. Stir in onions. Cook for two minutes over medium heat, stirring. Add minced garlic. Continue cooking, stirring frequently, until onions are soft. Add parsley and basil, and cook until the parsley loses its intense green color.

    Remove mushrooms from soaking liquid. Set liquid aside. Add tomatoes and mushrooms to pan. Strain mushroom soaking water and add with spices to mixture. Simmer over low heat until water reduces, about thirty minutes. Season to taste with salt and freshly milled pepper.

    When cooked, this can be used immediately, or poured into ice cube trays. When the mixture is frozen, remove from the trays and save in the freezer in a plastic bag.

    Yield: 1 1/2quarts.

    recipe from

    Contributor: Jenny Cavanna for Caterina Boselli



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