It’s no surprise, that for both our mental, and physical health, we need to get back to the primal diets of Mediterranean countries, and I’m not talking about the ‘pseudo Mediterranean diet’ concocted by the many ‘diet gurus’ of the later years.
Let’s get back to the bedrock of the Mediterranean diet, back to the main, and THE basic dish that is so beneficial for us to eat everyday, that super-dish is ‘Sofrito’.
Many would recognise Sofrito as the tomato sauce in pasta dishes, yet it is a base recipe for so many Spanish and Mediterranean dishes. It is so adaptable that it would be deliciously easy to eat the recommended amount of 120 grams per day. Plus to make up a batch of Sofrito is so easy, for storing it in the fridge on a weekly basis. The sauce can also be kept in the freezer for 6 months, which is a great way to store a glut of tomatoes.
Combining tomato, olive oil, garlic and onion in a sofrito increases the amount of polyphenols and carotenoids, making Sofrito a super powerful dish.
Scientists at the University of Barcelona, and the Biomedical Research Centres in Network, have for the first time, identified polyphenols and carotenoids to have healthy antioxidant substances, and show that Sofrito has at least 40 types of polyphenols. Plus other bioactive compounds are carotenoids vitamin C, and beta-carotene.
Various studies have shown that the intake of carotenoids such as lycopene prevents prostate cancer, and the consumption of foods rich in beta-carotene help reduce the incidence of lung cancer. Sofrito can also reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.
8-9 garlic cloves
120 ml extra-virgin oil
600g – 700g onions, finely chopped
1½ teaspoons of oregano
500 g pureed fresh tomatoes or canned tomato puree
1/2 tsp salt
Can also add chopped green or red peppers.
Pulverise the onion and garlic in a blender.
Put a saucepan over medium heat and add the oil.
Fry the onion and garlic mixture until browned.
Lower the heat, add the herbs, then fry, stirring frequently, until the onion has browned.
Add four-fifths of the tomatoes (and pepper) and cook for 30 minutes.
Add the remaining tomato (and pepper), cook for 30 more minutes, then season with salt and pepper.
Add the hot sauce to sterilised ex-Dolmio sauce jars, cover immediately, and store in the fridge when cool. From my experience, the sauce will keep well in the fridge for several weeks, or you could pop batches of the sauce into containers and freeze. Take care though, as the sauce could stain plastic containers.
For lots of sofrito recipes, you can ‘cheekily’ visit Dolmio’s Recipe Collection!
Picking up your fruit and vegetables from the local Algorfa, or Almoradi markets, is so economical, and healthy, that for the supermarket price of a jar of Dolmio Sauce, you could make up several jars of your own home-made bolognaise or lasagne sauce. A sauce that is super-healthy owing to vegetables being grown in one of the healthiest, and most organic area of the world… which of course is the Vega Baja!
Scientific Papers on Sofrito Sauce
- Sofrito contains substances that reduce risk of cardiovascular disease
- Experts examine Mediterranean diet’s health effects for older adults
- Genetic basis for health benefits of the ‘Mediterranean diet