Soffrito is a term I associate with Italian cuisine. Long ago when we worked on the Vineyard making soffrito was one of Alex's jobs. Minced vegetables (carrots, celery, onion-with garlic added later) were slowly cooked in an abundance of olive oil until they reached a peak of sweet, caramelized flavor to be used as the base for a sauce. Over the years we've seen many variations on the theme, adding garlic, peppers or fennel, fresh herbs or spices; there are any number of permutations. This past weekend we made out first soffrito without onions. One of our guests could not handle alliums, so in this case, carrots and celery were slowly cooked to to a sweet, savory, caramelized mass in a generous amount of olive oil, and then we added an equal amount of shiitake mushrooms minced with lovage. It made an amazing base for a pasta dish and reminded us that what we think of as limitations can actually expand our culinary horizons.