Chances are that if you are a cook and work full time or are a parent, you are looking for new tips, tricks and hacks to save time in the kitchen.
I am a mom of four living in Italy and I am ALWAYS looking for any corner to cut, ways to speed up my cooking and tips to reduce cleaning in the kitchen. If I can make a large batch of something and get a couple meals out of it, it’s for me.
Because I am always on the hunt for new ways to hit two birds with one stone while cooking, I have developed countless methods to add flavor, reduce cooking time and maximize my meals. One of the best ones is to freeze soffritto.
In this article, I will guide you through freezing soffritto. I will explain exactly:
- how to freeze soffritto
- how best to defrost soffritto
- how best to use soffritto
And if you have never made Italian soffritto before, no worries. Check out Italian Soffritto – Step-By-Step Instructions + How to Use It and learn more about how to use it in My Italian Family’s Top 5 Soffritto Uses.
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What Is Soffritto?
Italian soffritto is a mixture of finely chopped onion, carrot and celery that are sautéed in either butter or more commonly, olive oil, until fragrant, translucent, soft and gold in color.
Italian soffritto is the base to most Italian sauces, stews and soups and is considered to be where the depth of flavor starts in Italian cooking.
The ratio for making Italian soffritto is 2-1-1
This means 2 parts onion to 1 part carrot and 1 part celery, as a general rule. There is no Italian soffritto police out there measuring your ingredients though!
Why Freeze Soffritto?
When I make soffritto, I usually make a large batch and freeze it for the primary reason of saving time. I usually use my own recipe and double or triple it but other times, I will just use the ratio above (2-1-1) and chop up the onion, carrot and celery in these proportions.
For example, this might mean chopping 2 cups of onion, 1 cup of carrot and 1 cup of celery.
My top reasons for freezing soffritto:
- Saves time
- Saves clean up
- Adds flavor to any dish in no time
- Helps me create a meal without pre-planning
How to Freeze Soffritto
Freezing soffritto is very easy and requires no more effort than making it for any other dish.
Over medium-low heat, sauté the chopped onion, carrot and celery in the olive oil, stirring from time to time, anywhere from 10-25 minutes, being careful the vegetables don’t burn or turn brown. They should just turn translucent or gold, depending on how long you cook them. Allow the mixture to cool completely.
Transfer the cooled soffritto into a freezer bag and roll into a log and seal well. Alternatively, spoon the Italian soffritto into ice cube trays.
Allow to freeze completely. When the ice cube trays of Italian soffritto are completely frozen, transfer the soffritto cubes to a freezer safe Ziploc bag and seal well, squeezing out as much air as possible.
How Long Can You Freeze Soffritto?
I keep my Italian soffritto frozen for up to six months but I can guarantee you that it never lasts that long!
Generally speaking, food items that are left in the freezer for too long will start to lose their flavor. If you keep frozen soffritto over six months, it shouldn’t go rancid but the flavor profile will start to deteriorate.
It’s not important to defrost frozen soffritto before using it in recipes. If you want, you can defrost it in a covered container or on a plate in the refrigerator overnight prior to using. I do recommend this when you are making tomato sauce or any kind of ragù meat sauce.
I add it directly to whatever recipe I am following, fully frozen, but I am always sure to keep the flame on low. Frozen soffritto can burn quite easily so when adding directly to your recipe, keep the heat as low as possible until it’s completely melted or defrosted.
Good To Know: Once you have defrosted frozen soffritto, you cannot re-freeze it. If you have accidentally taken too much out, just add it all to your recipe. It’s not going to make your food bad, it will only increase the flavor!
How To Use Frozen Soffritto
To use frozen soffitto in ice cube trays, just pull out as many cubes as you would like. If you have opted to freeze the soffritto in a log, pull it out and with a serrated knife, cut off what you need, being very careful not to cut yourself in the process.
Frozen soffritto can be used just as freshly made Italian soffritto with just a couple of things to keep in mind:
Keep the frozen soffritto over low heat if you are defrosting it directly into a pan. If you are popping it into an already prepared soup or other dish with liquid, this is not important.
Here are my favorite recipes for using frozen soffritto:
- Bean and legume based soups
- Minestrone – vegetable soup
- Ribollita – vegetable and bread soup
- Pappa al pomodoro – tomato and bread soup
- salsa di pomodoro – tomato sauce (for pasta)
- Ragù di carne – meat sauce (for pasta)
- Spezzatino – beef stew
Freezing Soffritto FAQ
Yes, soffritto feezes extremely well as long as the mixture has been cooled before being frozen and sealed well.
How to Freeze Soffritto
- 1 recipe Italian soffritto
- ice cube tray or freezer bag
- Chop all the vegetables finely in a 2-1-1 ratio or follow my recipe. Use about 2 tablespoons of olive oil for every cup of onion.
- Over medium-low heat, sauté the chopped onion, carrot and celery in the olive oil, stirring from time to time, anywhere from 10-25 minutes, being careful the vegetables don’t burn or turn brown. They should just turn translucent or gold, depending on how long you cook them.
- Allow the mixture to cool completely.
- Transfer the cooled soffritto into a freezer bag and roll into a log and seal well. Alternatively, spoon the Italian soffritto into ice cube trays.
- Allow to freeze completely. When the ice cube trays of Italian soffritto are completely frozen, transfer the soffritto cubes to a freezer safe Ziploc bag and seal well, squeezing out as much air as possible.