It’s been a few weeks since I’ve posted a recipe, so I’m including a favorite this week. Sofrito is a coming from the that is most commonly associated with Puerto Rico, but that also has variant styles in the Dominican Republic and Cuba. Its roots are not only in Spanish cooking, but Native cooking, African cooking, and even Italian cooking, so it’s a mix of flavors that is totally unique.

Sofrito can be used in beans and rice, on chicken, fish and in all types of other dishes. Some even call it the pesto of the Caribbean, noting its central role in Puerto Rican cuisine in particular.

This recipe is adapted from a Puerto Rican style of sofrito. I’ve tried to stay true to the roots of the sauce, but have noted that many of the authentic ingredients are impossible to find in the US, even in well-stocked ethnic markets. Aji dulce and recao/culantro are very hard to find in the US, to the point of being nonexistent, even to those of you who know where to look, so I’ve made substitutions.

1 large red bell
1 large yellow/Spanish
16 aji dulce peppers — can substitute with 8 cubanelle or Anaheim peppers
1 head of
1/4 cup pitted pimenton (alcaparrado is more traditional, but make sure to remove pits)
1/2 cup
4 sprigs recao/culantro (may omit if you can’t find it)
1 bunch
1 tbsp ground black pepper
1 tbsp
1 tsp ground
1 1/2 tbsp salt

Start by coring and seeding the peppers, and then slicing into strips. Halve the onion and slice it, and peel the garlic cloves. Add all ingredients to a roasting pan and coat with olive oil. Roast for 1 hour at 375 degrees, until the veggies are soft and starting to brown a bit.

Add all ingredients to a food processor and blend until they achieve a perfect consistency, slightly chunky, but without any major pieces hanging out.

Sofrito can be used to flavor rice and beans, chicken, and many other dishes.

Sofrito in the early morning light.