Giancarlo Caldesi creates a traditional herb-infused vegetable sauce that's an essential base for many Italian slow-cook dishes
By Giancarlo and Katie Caldesi
  • Rating:
  • Serves: Makes 200g
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Effort: easy


  • 150 ml extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 red onions, (150g approx), very finely chopped
  • 2 sticks celery, (150g approx), very finely chopped
  • 1 carrot, (150g approx), very finely chopped
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 2 cloves garlic, left whole and crushed with the flat side of the knife

Tips and Suggestions

If you are making a dish with a delicate flavour, put the rosemary and garlic into the oil first. After 2 minutes, remove and discard them to give just a hint of the flavours.


1. Heat the olive oil in a frying pan and stir in the onion, celery and carrot. Season with the salt and freshly ground black pepper. Add the rosemary, bay leaves and garlic. Cook over a low heat for 15 minutes, stirring often, as this allows the onion to become sweet.

2. Once the sauce is cooked and thickened, remove the rosemary and bay leaves, and use the soffritto in your chosen dish.

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