Yeilds: about 3 cups
- About 2 tablespoons of olive oil, divided
- 1 pound of Roma tomatoes (4 medium-sized)
- 1 red sweet bell pepper
- 2 (1-inch thick) slices of an Italian-style bread (measuring approximately 6 x 3-inches in diameter), such as ciabatta or Pugliese
- 1 cup roasted and skinned hazelnuts
- 3 garlic cloves, crushed and peeled
- 1 to 2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
- 1 teaspoon Spanish paprika
- 2½ teaspoon ground chipotle chile pepper
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- ¼ cup red wine or sherry vinegar
- ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
- Hot water, if needed
This classic Spanish sauce is a melange of roasted tomatoes and peppers, olive oil, roasted hazelnuts and fried bread. It compliments many foods, including grilled shellfish and halibut, lamb, pasta, and even a simple offering of toasted bread (as a dipping sauce). It keeps for at least two weeks in the refrigerator.
Preheat oven to 400ºF.
Pool one tablespoon of olive oil on a baking sheet and place it in the oven while it is preheating. Halve the tomatoes lengthwise; cut out the core from each half. When the oven is hot, remove the baking sheet from the oven and place the tomato halves in the oil, cut-side up. Coat the surface of each tomato half with a bit more oil, which will help with browning. Roast for about 15 minutes, then turn the tomatoes over, cut-side down and continue roasting until the tomato skins begin to darken, crack, and pull away from the flesh. Remove from the oven and set aside until they're cool enough to handle.
Pierce the pepper in several places with a sharp knife to avoid bursting, then place it on the baking sheet. Place the pepper under a broiler and broil, turning several times, until it has blackened over most of its surface. Alternatively, you could blacken the pepper over a gas flame on your stove top, or in a grill.
Meanwhile, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a heavy-bottomed skillet (you can use a non-stick skillet, but it won't impart quite as much toasty flavor to the bread). Fry the bread until golden brown and crisp on both sides. Remove from skillet and let cool.
Pluck the skins from the cooled tomatoes, reserving the juices. Place the flesh and juice in the food processor. Peel, core and seed the pepper, reserving the juice. Place the flesh and juice in the food processor. Add the bread, roasted hazelnuts, garlic, red pepper flakes, paprika, ground chipotle chile pepper, salt, and black pepper. Process until smooth (it will have a somewhat grainy appearance because of the nuts). With the machine running, add the vinegar.
Let the motor run for a moment, then stop it and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Turn the motor back on and add the ½ cup of extra virgin olive oil in a slow, steady, very thin stream. The sauce will thicken slightly and hold together with a rich, rust orange/red color. If the sauce seems too thick (it should have a soft, pesto-like consistency), then with the machine running, drizzle in some hot water. Taste and make sure the sauce has plenty of piquancy and enough salt.
If desired, with the machine running, add additional vinegar and salt. Romesco sauce can be prepared and refrigerated for at least a week.
Bring to room temperature before using.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 2 cloves, minced
- ½ thinly sliced red pepper
- ½ thinly sliced yellow pepper
- ½ thinly sliced green pepper
- 2 large ripe tomatoes, peeled, seeded and diced in ½ inch pieces (2 cups)
- 4 ounces soft goat cheese (Chevre)
- Cooked Penne pasta
- ½ cup coarsely chopped toasted hazelnuts
- ½ cup cooked artichoke hearts, quartered
- ½ cup Kalamata or Sicilian olives
- ¼ cup chopped fresh basil
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- Freshly ground black pepper to taste
In a large skillet, heat one tablespoon olive oil. Over medium heat, sauté garlic until softened, about two minutes. Add peppers and sauté for another two minutes. Add tomatoes and stir just until they release their juices, about two minutes. Stir in goat cheese to make a creamy sauce. Toss with cooked pasta, hazelnuts, artichokes, olives, and basil. Drizzle with lemon juice and remaining olive oil. Season with freshly ground black pepper to taste.
To peel tomatoes, spear the stem end with a fork. Holding the fork, immerse tomato in boiling water for about one minute. Cool by holding the tomato in a stream of cold water. The peel should slip off easily.
To seed tomatoes, cut in half horizontally. Place one half in the palm of your hand like you were holding a baseball for an overhand throw. Firmly squeeze at the same time, making a downward throwing motion over the sink or waste basket. Most of the seeds will come out. Just don't let loose!
Mushrooms with Pasta and Hazelnut Oil
Yield: 2 Servings
- 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter
- 1 pound mushrooms, ends trimmed and sliced into ¼ inch thick slices
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 8 ounces dry linguine fini
- 2 to 3 tablespoons hazelnut oil
- ½ cup chopped parsley
- ½ cup toasted hazelnuts, chopped
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Cook the linguine; while it is cooking, make the mushroom topping.
Heat butter in a large skillet. Add the mushrooms and saute for a moment, Add a cover and a tad of water and simmer for 5 minutes or until tender. Remove the cover and evaporate the liquid. Add the garlic and saute just until aromatic. Remove mushrooms from the heat and season well to taste with salt and pepper.
When the pasta is done, return it to the cooking pot and toss with mushrooms, hazelnut oil and parsley; keep on tossing until well combined and transfer to 2 heated pasta bowls. Garnish with hazelnuts and dinner is done. Accompany with steamed vegetable salad.