This homemade authentic Romesco recipe is officially called ‘awesome sauce’ in my house. It’s goes with everything, literally and it’s very nutritious. Romesco is made with dried peppers, thickened with roasted hazelnuts, flavoured with roasted garlic and seasoned with rosemary. Any dried peppers can be used to make this recipe but traditionally ñoras are used. Ñoras are slightly smaller and rounder than most peppers. They will need to be soaked in water prior to use so the sauce is creamy and smooth. A whole head of garlic is required which is roasted along with tomatoes and hazelnuts. Add a little chilli according to your taste.
Usually served as a dip in the famous Catalan celebration ‘calçotada’, this sauce can be used to liven up any pasta dish, added to buddha bowls, spread on toasted bread, used as a nice smokey sauce to top a burger or as a tasty dip for your raw vegetables and crackers.
A high speed blender is needed for this recipe.
I head of garlic
200g natural whole hazelnuts
6 dried red peppers (ñoras)
Virgin olive oil
½ tsp rosemary
Salt and chilli to taste
1. The peppers will need to be soaked overnight or in boiling water for an hour.
2. Preheat your oven to 180C.
3. Cut the tomatoes into 6 or 8 segments then put them, with the garlic, in a tray. Sprinkle with salt and olive oil. Add fresh rosemary if you have it. If your rosemary is dry add it later when you mix all the ingredients together.
4. Place the nuts in another tray then put both trays in the oven. The nuts will only need 15 minutes. The tomatoes and garlic will need a further 10 minutes so around 25 minutes.
5. Meanwhile the peppers and nuts are roasting peel and deseed the peppers (sometimes this is not necessary depending on the peppers however the skin and seeds can add texture to your sauce). Place them in a bowl or food processor.
6. When the tomatoes and garlic are cooked, leave to cool down. Once cooled peel the garlic and take the skin off the tomatoes. Add them to the bowl or processor with the peppers. Any juice left over from the roasted tomatoes can also be added, even any black or burnt bits as it all adds to the flavour.
7. Add the dried rosemary, a pinch of salt and a teaspoon of olive oil. Process all the ingredients together until all the nuts have been well pulverized.
8. Add more oil or a little water if you prefer a thinner consistency. Add salt to taste.
- Noras are small round red dried peppers but you can use other dried peppers. If the peppers are large use just two.
- I have used almonds before but the traditional recipe uses hazelnuts. Careful not to burn the nuts. If you put them in the oven with the tomatoes it may be a little high. If you have time, cook them separately on a lower heat.
- The original recipe uses bread but I prefer to use more nuts and omit the bread. However, if you use bread you might want to add a teaspoon of vinegar.
- Depending on taste add or omit the chilli.