- 2 medium Spanish onions, cut into large chunks
- 3 to 4 Italian frying peppers or cubanelle peppers (You can use our red italias or a combination of red and green sweet or bell peppers).
- 16 to 20 cloves garlic, peeled
- 1 large bunch cilantro, washed
- 7 to 10 ajices dulces (see note below), optional
- 4 leaves of culantro (see note below), or another handful cilantro
- 3 to 4 ripe tomatoes, cored and cut into chunks
- 1 large red bell pepper, cored, seeded and cut into large chunks
This sofrito is a seasoned tomato-based sauce used as a foundation in Caribbean, Latin American, and Spanish cooking. Try adding sofrito to yellow rice, black bean soup, sauce for spaghetti and meatballs, braised chicken and sautéed shrimp. It also freezes beautifully, so in about In 10 minutes you can make enough sofrito to flavor a dozen dishes.
Chop the onion and cubanelle or Italian peppers in the work bowl of a food processor until coarsely chopped. With the motor running, add the remaining ingredients one at a time and process until smooth. The sofrito will keep in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. It also freezes beautifully. Freeze sofrito in ½ cup batches in sealable plastic bags. They come in extremely handy in a pinch. You can even add sofrito straight from the freezer to the pan in any recipe that calls for it in this book.
If you can’t find ajices dulces or culantro, don’t sweat. Up the amount of cilantro to 1 ½ bunches.
Ajices Dulces, also known as cachucha or ajicitos are tiny sweet peppers with a hint of heat. They range in color from light to medium green and yellow to red and orange. They add freshness and an herby note to the sofrito and anything you cook. Do not mistake them for Scotch bonnet or Habanera chilies (which they look like)–those two pack a wallop when it comes to heat. If you can find ajicitos in your market, add them to sofrito. If not, up the cilantro and add a pinch of cayenne pepper. Culantro is not cilantro. It has long leaves with tapered tips and serrated edges. When it comes to flavor, culantro is like cilantro times ten. It is a nice, not essential addition to sofrito.