Also known as battuto, this is the essential base for Italian stews and soups, some sauces and ragù. The recipe varies by region, but most versions contain the ‘holy trinity’ of Italian vegetables: celery, onion and carrot. In summer, make batches to freeze for winter, including some without garlic.
150g carrot (about 2-3)
150g celery (2-3 sticks)
150g onions (red or white)
150ml olive oil
2 garlic cloves (optional)
Salt and pepper
2 large sprigs of rosemary and/or thyme
2 bay leaves
Finely chop the ingredients by hand or in a food processor.
It is best to cut them separately if you are using a machine as the carrots need longer than the celery and onion.
Heat the oil in a large frying pan over a medium-hot heat.
Add the garlic, if using, and season with salt and pepper.
Fry for 1 minute before adding the remaining ingredients.
Keep frying, stirring frequently, for 15–20 minutes or until the vegetables have softened.
The colours will have changed from bright and sharp to soft and golden.
Use straight away or freeze.