Battuto: The Four Evangelists of Italian Cooking
When Italians cook, they start with something called a battuto, a mince of ordinary vegetables like onions, celery, carrots and garlic, that create a foundation for extraordinary flavors that really make a dish come together. These ingredients are often referred to as the four evangelists of Italian cooking. So many classic dishes from sauces to soups to oven roasting and braising, start this way. The word, battuto means to beat down, a minced combination of veggies achieved with a knife or mezzaluna (rocking knife). The mixture is cooked in olive oil and or butter until the vegetables are very soft. The actual cooking is called the soffritto, translated to stir-fry. Other ingredients can also be part of the battuto like minced herbs, often parsley, or pancetta or prosciutto or other types of salumi.