Sofrito & White Bean Ragout
What is sofrito?
It's a delicious base for cooking soups and sauces and stews in Latin cooking.
Puerto Rican, Cuban, Spanish, Caribbean, they all have their own combination of aromatics.
It's like a mirepoix in France, and the Holy Trinity in Cajun cooking. Got it? Little tiny minced onions, peppers, garlic, herbs, cooked down slowly in oil for 20 minutes or so.
This simple supper from the May issue of Bon Appetit called my name. The recipe made enough sofrito for another meal, so the next night, I cooked it up with rice and threw in some shrimp. Delicious.
White Bean Ragout w/ Parmesan Toasts & Sofrito: (adapted from Bon Appetit)
3 medium onions, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1/4 cup of olive oil
kosher salt & pepper
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp tomato paste
4 slices of ciabatta bread, toasted
8-10 tbsp of grated Parmesan cheese
2 cans of cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
4 cups of chicken or vegetable broth, divided
1 cup of cherry tomatoes
2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
Make the sofrito:
Add the chopped onions to a food processor and pulse 3 times, to finely chop the onions, you don't want to puree them. Remove to a bowl.
Add the chopped red pepper and do the same thing, you want finely chopped pieces. Add to the bowl w/ the onions and mix together.
Heat about 1/4 cup of olive oil in a heavy skillet and add the onion pepper mixture and cook on medium low heat for about 20 minutes, until vegetables are completely soft. Season w/ kosher salt & pepper. Add the minced garlic and tomato paste and cook another 3 minutes.
This is your sofrito! Measure out about 1/2 cup and set aside.
You can now transfer the rest of the sofrito to a container to cool and use all week in other recipes (with rice, soups, eggs, etc). Bon Appetit says you can freeze it, but I have never had luck freezing onions, they get too watery.
Now for the bean ragout: (When I was young, I thought it was pronounced "Rag-OUT", instead of "Ragu", what a dope!, I told you I was sophisticated).
In the same large skillet, add the white beans with the 1/2 cup of sofrito to the pan and cook about 1 minute. Add the 4 cups of broth and the tomatoes and simmer this mixture until thickened like a stew, for about 15-20 minutes. The tomato skins should be popping at this point. Add 2 tbsp of grated Parmigiano Reggiano and you are almost ready.
Sprinkle some Parmesan on the ciabatta slices and toast them up.
When ready to serve, lay the toasts in a shallow bowl and spoon the bean tomato ragout on top. Sprinkle with fresh parsley and serve. Not sure if we were supposed to eat this with a spoon or fork, it was a bit clumsy, but still delicious!