Mixtures of stewed aromatic vegetables, herbs and spices are at the core of almost every type of cuisine. Sofrito is the Spanish version, usually consisting of peppers, onions and tomato. Luckily all of those veggies are in season right now and Provisions Produce Buyer, Jason Rivera, has put together a recipe for sofrito success. The idea behind this homestyle dish is to use whatever vegetables are available to create a flavorful, easy to eat, easy to digest meal.
(And remember, the word sofrito doesn’t have to limit your cooking. In the Fall you could just as easily be using fennel, carrots and onions instead of peppers, onions and tomatoes.)
Extra virgin olive oil (preferably really tasty stuff)
A few sweet peppers, diced (whatever looks pretty at the market)
A fat juicy onion, diced (look for fresh uncured onions at this time of year)
A ripe tomato diced (Brandywines work really well for this, I recommend a red tomato)
1 bay leaf
1 1/2 cups white wine
water or chicken stock
1/2 pound of green, yellow, purple or romano beans with the tough end trimmed
2 heirloom squash cut into 1/4 inch rounds (my favorite is the Romanesca)
1 ear corn cut from the cob
4 red radishes sliced into 1/4 inch rounds
10 fresh basil leaves
Salt and pepper to taste
Sherry vinegar to taste
1. Heat a pot, large enough to contain all of the ingredients. Add enough olive oil to generously coat the bottom of the pot. Throw the peppers and onions in there and cook them until they are soft without browning them. If it looks a little dry add more olive oil.
2. Add the tomatoes, bay leaf and white wine. Simmer this until all of the liquid evaporates.
3. At this point continue to cook the mixture until the oil separates out and the mixture starts to stick on the bottom. Be careful here, you don’t want burnt, just a little toasted. Stir very often.
4. Add the beans and cover with stock or water and simmer. It’s a good idea to take a wooden spoon and scrape all the tasty bits of the bottom of the pot.
5. Cook the beans until they are very soft and tender, and a lot of the liquid has evaporated. They will turn army green, and look overcooked, but they will also become sweet and soak up all of that sofrito liquid.
6. Stir in the squash, corn and radishes and remove from heat. At this point season with salt, pepper and vinegar.
7. This dish should be served just above room temperature with a piece of crusty bread to soak up the juices. Just before serving, stir in the basil leaves and a bit of fresh olive oil.