This is a basic first step in many Italian dishes and is a staple of Italian cooking.
It is the beginning of many meat dishes, soups, pulses and stews. The quantity of the ingredients used can vary slightly depending on what you have available, but essentially it is a mixture of onion, carrot, celery and in certain variations, garlic.
In a vegetable market in Italy the green grocer will add parsley and celery for free as these are such an essential part of cooking. These are called odori, literally perfumes, and together with basil (in season), bay leaf and rosemary, they are the most frequently used herbs in southern Italian cooking.
To make the battuto
Finely chop together a piece of carrot, celery and onion. Variations can include garlic and rosemary depending on what you are cooking.
It is important to chop very finely. You can use a small food processor although try not to mush it into a pulp which is not what you want. I use a half moon-type knife if I am making a small quantity and this works well if you can get the hang of it, but if you are cooking for more people, a mixer is perfect.
· 1 carrot
· 1 onion
· half a stick of celery
· handful of parsley
Finally chop the carrot, onion and celery. Heat some olive oil in the pan you are going to use to make the main part of the dish and add the vegetables. Stir to begin with so that they don’t stick. Allow them to colour a little then go onto the next part of the recipe: I use this as the starting point for cooking any beans or lentils or a stew such as spezzatino or chilli con carne.