Friday, October 7, 2011
This sauce is a flavorful burst of garden fresh Italian delight. The roasted vegetables create layers of flavor that will keep you coming back for more- guilt free. Romesco sauce is typically a mixture of nuts, tomatoes, peppers, garlic and onions with smoky spices like paprika and chili mixed in, to create a pesto like sauce. My sauce keeps the pesto like texture but gets rid of the nuts and smokiness and replaces it with a bit of natural sweetness by roasting the vegetables. For a traditional dinner, serve it with angel hair pasta (whole wheat is pictured) and a big handful of fresh Parmesan cheese. If you want to try something new or healthier, skip the pasta and go for spaghetti squash- it was dynamite with this fresh sauce and is a great fall meal. It has been a few weeks since I made it and my mouth is watering just thinking about it (and I am not even hungry). It was a big hit with my hubby, so I served it for a dinner party and we had a group of happy stomachs, going back for seconds. I can't wait to make it again!
Roasted Tomato and Garlic Romesco
6 to 8 Large Roma or Plum Tomatoes
2 large red bell peppers
1 large yellow onion
1 head of garlic (yes, 1 head, not 1 clove)
7 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
3 teaspoons refrigerated basil paste (you can find this in a tube at most grocery stores by the fresh herbs in the produce section, even Walmart carries it). Use 1/2 cup fresh basil if you can't find it/don't have it.
Plenty of sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Preheat oven to 425
Cut tomatoes in half length wise and then in half again, making 4 pieces out of each tomato. Place tomatoes on baking sheet and toss in 3 tablespoons olive oil and generously sprinkle with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Cut bell peppers and onion into medium size chunks. Place on another baking sheet and toss with 2 tablespoons olive oil and plenty of sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
With your head of garlic, cut off the wide end (the hairy end) about a quarter inch, so the head of the garlic is flat. Place garlic on square of tin foil drizzle with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt. Wrap tightly, sealing and pressing together to prevent oven leakage.
Place tomatoes, bell pepper and onions and garlic in the preheated 425 degree oven. Setting the garlic off to the side on the top rack. Roast vegetables for about 15 minutes and garlic for 25.
Place the tomatoes in a strainer to quickly get rid of the excess liquid.
Place tomatoes, peppers and onions into a food processor.
Open up the tin foil and squeeze the garlic into the food processor. The cloves will fall out of the head very easily with a little bit of a squeeze from the narrow side of the garlic head.
Add refrigerated basil, 1 1/2 teaspoons of sea salt and 1/2 teaspoon of freshly cracked black pepper.
Puree sauce until smooth, although the sauce has a coarse texture. Taste, add more salt and pepper if necessary.
Place sauce in a saucepan and keep warm on stove until ready to serve.
Serve over angel hair pasta, garnish with fresh basil and serve with freshly grated parmesan cheese.
*Remember, a great alternative to serving over angel hair pasta is spaghetti squash- super healthy and delicious!