A creamy, savory Romesco pasta sauce of fire-roasted bell peppers and tomatoes, almonds seasoned with fresh basil, oregano, garlic, and chilies.
Marinara Sauce Alternative
Undoubtedly, you have to try this Romesco pasta sauce. An alternative pasta sauce. It has a great roasted taste, a spicy kick from the chilies and peppery basil, and then smoothed out with the sweetness of bell pepper. Additionally, this sauce would go well with beef, peppers, and spaghetti.
Also, if you don’t fancy red meat, try it with baked chicken breast. I’ve even added it to my Israeli Couscous with Roasted Vegetable recipe, and on top of that, I added Herb Roasted Tofu, a great combination. Fish too! For example, use the sauce on roasted fish and steamed/roasted vegetables. The possibilities are endless with this sauce. You can use it in so many ways and stores very well.
I remember learning the original Romesco sauce from an amazing Spanish chef, Marc Vidal, who is literally the funniest man in the kitchen but serious about his passion for Spanish Cuisine. Would he approve of my Romesco pasta sauce? I wonder. Ohh, the Serrano ham! Amazingly, he got a particular machine to slice each piece delicately, pieces that melt in your mouth. Also, if you want to keep him happy? Give him chocolate! Haha. A great chef!
The cool thing about this recipe is that it doesn’t take too long to make; you simply add all the ingredients, fire-roasted red bell peppers, canned fire-roasted tomatoes, garlic, almonds, sherry vinegar, parsley, basil, oregano, paprika, pepper flakes, salt, black pepper, hot water, expect the olive oil and blend. Then you will slowly blend in your olive oil, emulsifying all the ingredients together.
Busy Folks: Become a better home cook with tips to help you cook more efficiently on Cook's Notebook tab. You'll also find more detailed steps for the instructions above.
- Sherry Vinegar - Rice or red wine vinegar
- Dried Oregano - For every ½ teaspoon, use one teaspoon of fresh oregano, finely chopped.
- Non-Dairy - The great thing about this sauce is that it's non-dairy; the creaminess comes from the emulsification of the ingredients with the oil that blended to an airy texture.
Change the recipe's heat level to your liking and learn more about the Scoville Scale and Chili Pairings.
- Blender or Food Processor - Used to emulsify the ingredients in the Romesco pasta sauce to create a smooth and creamy sauce. To develop this recipe, I used the Vitamix Professional Series Blender. I've used Vitamix for years, even in the professional kitchen. I've also upgraded my small food processor to the KitchenAid 3.5 Cup Food Chopper, which is tough enough to do the job and small enough to avoid finding space for a new appliance. Also, the best part is the drizzle basin that you can use to add the oil for excellent emulsification slowly.
- Refrigerator - If you heated the whole romesco pasta sauce, place it in a shallow 2-inch container in the fridge to cool down. Once cooled, store in an airtight glass container. I prefer to store it in a Ball Glass Pint Regular Mouth Mason Jar or container to prevent staining the container and help with a longer storage time. The sauce should last up to four days.
- Freezer - Place the cooled sauce in a labeled zipper-sealing bag and lay it flat on a sheet or pizza pan; lay it flat in the freezer. Once frozen, remove the pan and store it. This method helps save space; you can do all your sauces this way and keep them like a file.
Just Heat Up
Simmer the Romesco pasta sauce on low heat and add your favorite cooked pasta. Hey, it’s not only pasta sauce. For instance, you can use it for grilled vegetables, too. Just toss it in there!
Frequently Asked Questions
Romesco falls into the European cuisine category and origins in the Valls, a Province of Tarragona located in Spain. Furthermore, this Catalonian region staple created by fishermen is actually traditionally eaten with fish. Also, classic Romesco recipes usually call for stale bread to thicken the sauce, but this ingredient was left out because it is used for pasta and to make the recipe gluten-free.
This is the process of allowing two liquids that don't usually combine well to blend through a rapid mixing process to break down the two liquids into smaller particles to mix in with each other. And this is only temporary unless there is a stabilizer (like adding mustard to a vinaigrette when combining oil and vinegar) to keep the mixture from separating. In addition, emulsified liquids do not freeze well, and some need shaking or whisking before every use.
Preheat the grill. Place whole bell peppers on a heated grill. Allow charring and blister (about 1 to 2 minutes) on each side of the bell pepper once 80% covered in char. Then, remove from the heat, immediately place in a glass or metal bowl, and cover with plastic wrap.
Allow steaming for 2 to 3 minutes in the bowl. As a result of steaming, this will help release the charred skin from the pulp of the bell peppers. Next, remove the plastic wrap and peel the charred skin and discard. The peppers might still be hot, and you might want to use tongs or gloves. Cut the bell pepper in half and remove the seeds, stem, and white ribs.
Use the oven broiler setting (Preheat and Use at Medium Heat to 450 degrees). Then, place the bell peppers on a roasting rack and sheet pan, and place the pan on the middle rack of the oven. Rotate the bell peppers when charred on one side (about 2 to 3 minutes).
Once 80% is covered in char, remove it from the oven, place it in a metal or glass bowl, and cover it with plastic wrap. Allow sitting for 2 to 3 minutes to allow the steam to separate from the skin. Then, remove the plastic wrap and peel the skin off. Finally, discard charred skin. And cut peppers in half and remove the seeds, white ribs, and stem.
Slice tomatoes (Beefsteak: ½-inch slices. Roma Tomatoes: halved horizontally. Cherry or Grap tomatoes - do not cut all at, roast whole). Then, heat the grilling basket on flames for about 1 minute.
Remove the basket and coat the grilling basket with a small amount of avocado oil (or another high smoke point oil of your choice, such as canola oil). Then, place the grilling basket back on the grill. Layer the tomatoes on the grilling basket. Allow the heat to create blisters on the tomatoes' skin with slight fire marks across the tomatoes. Finally, remove from heat and use.
Slice tomatoes (Beefsteak: ½-inch slices. Roma Tomatoes: halved horizontally. Cherry or Grap tomatoes - do not cut all at, roast whole). Use the oven broiler setting (Preheat and Use at Medium Heat to 450 degrees Fahrenheit). Then, use a roasting rack and a sheet pan.
Next, layer out the tomato pieces with space in between each piece to prevent steaming in the broiling process. Steam will cause prevent charring and blistering. Allow the broil to create blisters and slight charing marks on the tomatoes. Then, flip the tomato pieces or shake the pan for intact ones to broil the other side. Remove from heat and use.
Oils that can withstand high heat at 400 degrees Fahrenheit or more before smoking. Visit Cook's Notebook: High Smoke Point to learn more.
It is the burning of the surface of the food using an open fire method or broiling.
Looking for other sauce recipes like this? Try these:
Looking for other pasta recipes like this? Try these:
Quick Basil Romesco Sauce
- 1 cup canned fire-roasted red bell peppers
- ½ cup canned fire-roasted tomatoes drained
- 1 garlic clove
- ¼ cup almonds
- 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
- ½ bunch of fresh parsley
- ¼ cup basil leaves
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika powder
- ¼ teaspoon crushed red chili pepper flakes
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons water
- ½ cup olive oil
- Save time in the kitchen: Read the instructions thoroughly, then gather and prep all your ingredients before cooking! Learn Prepping Tips.
- In a blender or food processer, combine the fire-roasted red bell peppers, fire-roasted tomatoes, garlic, almonds, sherry vinegar, parsley, basil, oregano, paprika powder, red pepper flakes, salt, black pepper, and water.
- Blend the ingredients gradually from low to high speed until there is a pureed, chunky consistency with no large lumps.
- Turn the blender off, add half of the oil, and blend until it becomes a pale red for 30 seconds.
- Turn the blend off again and add the rest of the oil and blend for another 30 seconds.
- Once all the oil has been added, blend on high speed for about thirty seconds to help the sauce to continue emulsifying by breaking the sauce ingredients and oil into smaller pieces to bind. The sauce will turn lighter due to the air incorporated into the mixture.
- In a heated saute pan on medium-low heat, heat up the desired amount and toss in your favorite pasta, vegetables, meats, seafood, fish, poultry, tofu, or a combination.
- Serve immediately, or store the sauce in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Note: I prefer to keep it in a glass jar to prevent staining and longer storage time.
- Don't leave food sitting out at room temperature for extended periods.
- Never leave cooking food unattended.
- Use oils with a high smoke point. To avoid harmful compounds. Visit Cook's Notebook: High Smoke Point to learn more.
- Always have good ventilation when using a gas stove.
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