Partial to pesto? Try this.
Romesco sauce is the business. This is why I am breaking with tradition and instead of sharing another marvellous Italian recipe with you I have decided to go to Spain with this particular post. My justification is this: it’s delicious and has a slight resemblance to that Genovese favourite: pesto.
The similarity with these sauces is the use of ground nuts. Instead of pine nuts, romesco sauce uses a combination of hazelnuts and almonds. I guess that’s where the resemblance ends! Whereas pesto is all about the hit of flavour you get from a truck load of fresh pesto and sharp parmesan cheese, romesco sauce is about the fiery, smoky hues and taste sensations of red peppers and chilli.
But both sauces make wonderful accompaniments to all sorts of fish and meat, as well as pasta, roast potatoes and even slathered on good quality crusty bread,
Easy to make and dangerously addictive, this romesco sauce recipe is one I fall back on when I need to eat something that tastes like sunshine, adds a kick of intense flavour to anything it comes in contact with or when I want to impress someone with some seriously delicious cooking!
If you’re partial to pasta with a bit of heat, try this spicy chorizo recipe – it’s a treat!
Romesco sauce recipe
Ingredients – Serves 4-6
- 2 red capsicums
- 100g roasted hazelnuts
- 200g roasted almonds
- 1 slice slightly stale white bread
- 3 cloves garlic
- 150g ripe tomatoes of any type
- 3 tsp. Smoked paprika
- 1 medium mild red chilli or 1 small hot red chilli or 1/2 tsp. red chilli flakes (optional)
- 1 ½ – 2 tbsp. sherry vinegar
- ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
- Put your oven onto 200C to preheat. Drizzle garlic cloves with a little olive oil and roast for about 12 minutes until soft.
- Roast your capsicum over the naked flame of your hob and when charred and softened, allow to cool and remove skin as best you can.
- Press on the garlic cloves to ensure they have cooked and soften before removing from oven. Slide garlic flesh from skin by pressing down with a knife or fork and squeezing it out. Discard skins.
- If you haven’t bought roasted nuts you will need to do this in the oven yourself – you can do this while the garlic is roasting. Be sure to keep an eye on them so they do not burn. Process both nut types together in a food processor until they are finely ground. Remove from processor.
- Break up your bread and blitz until you get fine crumbs. If your bread is not dry enough, pop it in the toaster for a few minutes first. When finely ground, add nuts to breadcrumbs along with roasted capsicum, garlic, tomatoes, paprika, chilli and olive oil. Blitz in food processor until all combined and then start slowly pouring in olive oil while intermittently pulsing.
- Taste, does it need more sherry vinegar or olive oil? Add in small increments until you get your desired balance.