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ROMESCO SAUCE goes ITALIAN my way

A savoury nut and tomato based specialty...
which has originated in Spain has now been taken over by an Italian.


I'm newly naming this gloriously versatile rich pesto...
the ROMaSCO SAUCE.

This sauce may look...well, let's be honest...a little ordinary.
However, I have been taught from a very early age that we can't judge until savoured.
Aromatic, rich and incredibly flavourful is exactly how I would describe this pesto.

I took the deep, red colored and very classic 'Catalan' pesto
from the Spaniards and whipped an Italian version of my own.

with accompanying Romesco recipe

However, before I go ahead with the sharing of my recipe...
I feel I should not hide my embarrassing ignorance of sorts.
Up until a few weeks ago...
I had never heard of Romesco Sauce.
Please note: this is not to be confused with ROManESCO sauce...which is an inventive name created by others.
However, I've re-named it the ROMaSCO because I made pertinent changes to the original recipe.  
One day, I was flipping through a cooking magazine that mentioned this sauce.
Can you imagine why I immediately assumed it was Italian?!?
Did I ever mention how innocently insufferable I can be at times.

My adorable 'Sushi' and I share a somewhat similar personality ;o)

To think...I sometimes accuse my Hubby of being Mr. Macho.
Did I think the Italians had the proprietary stamp on any great tomato based sauce?
Well, obviously I did.
Although, I did ponder on the fact of why I had never heard of it.
Well, no wonder.  
No sooner did I 'google' it...I got a real chunk of humble pie.
Italian...it certainly was not!
Now, I was curious and determined to try this incredibly versatile sauce.
However, once again, not only did I not have all the mentioned ingredients...
I was already picking and choosing what I didn't like.
So much for respecting the typical Spanish cuisine.
Oh, well, I was still going ahead...
some sort of pesto sauce was going to be whipped up that evening.

I had a great start...
my tomatoes were already roasted and waiting for me to use.



ROMaSCO
romesco PESTO sauce
yields about 2-1/2 cups (600ml)


INGREDIENTS:
(American / Metric measures)

. 4 big Roma tomatoes (sliced and roasted *)
. 1/4 cup (40g) roasted** whole almonds
. 1/4 cup (40g) roasted** whole hazelnuts
. 1/4 cup (60ml) mild 'Ajvar' *** (or roasted red pepper)
. 1 slice of crustless bread (multigrain preferred)
. 4 tbsp. (60ml) Port wine (red wine is alright also)
. 1 tbsp. (15ml) 'Fleur d'ail' (or roasted garlic)
. 1 tsp. (5ml) capers
. 1/2 tsp. (2.5ml) sea salt
. 1/4 cup (60ml) extra virgin olive oil
. 1 tsp. (5ml) Paprika (Hungarian preferred)
. a good pinch of cayenne pepper


* Refer to this post...for easy instructions on roasting tomatoes.







** Roasting nuts:
Pre-heat oven at 350F/180C/Gas4.
. Roast the hazelnuts for about 12 minutes. 
Same applies for the almonds, although add 1-2 minutes.
The hazelnut skin can be rubbed off partially with the aid of a tea towel.




*** Ajvar: product from Turkey: It is simply a blend of finely pureed roasted peppers, eggplants, vinegar, sunflower oil, garlic, a touch of sugar and a tinch of hot pepper...and the bonus...no additives or preservatives.



PREPARATION:
. Place everything in a blender without the olive oil.  Pulsate a few times.
. Start the blender again on low and gradually pour the olive oil until blended as it creates a slight rustic smooth texture.
. Pour in a glass bowl.  It will keep nicely up to 5 days in the fridge or freeze in small mason jars for up to 3 months.






Since, I've made this pesto sauce...
I could not bring myself to freeze it because...
I kept coming up with excuses to use it again and again.

Here are the many uses of this incredibly aromatic and flavourful sauce:
. Spread it as a base on pizza (as shown here on middle eastern pita bread).



. Make a 'bruschetta' type appetizer with a sprinkle of mild cheese.
. Slather on as a sandwich...or simply eat it with a slice of crusty bread.
. To use as a blended condiment or dip: add either to mayo or
Greek style yogurt (strained regular 2% fat yogurt gives amazing results also).
. Use as filling to appetizers as shown in these 'Tostitos' corn taco scoops.



. Accompaniment to chicken or other type meats.
. Scoop over grilled veggies...especially potatoes.
Even better to blend it into mashed potatoes.
. Mix it with pasta or other grain and a little bit of its cooking water
to smoothen the sauce...add Parmesan to taste.


Notice...not much red here...just a few spoons of the pesto left over...I was desperate.

. Great as a filler for homemade ravioli.
. Mix in a few spoons into a soup or stew.

. Used especially to spoon over fish...is just sublime.


I do hope you have a chance to blend up all this tasty goodness.
I can assure you...that this will certainly become a go to pesto.
Flavourful wishes,
Foodessa


Comments or suggestions ... write me :o)
Claudia at: foodessa [at] gmail [dot] com




Now...for those who are interested...I introduce you the original ROMESCO:...a sauce originating in Tarragona (Catalonia, Spain) that is typically made from almonds, pine nuts, and/or hazelnuts, roasted garlic, olive oil and nyoras - a smaller, sweet, dried variety of red bell pepper.  Other common ingredients include roasted tomatoes, red wine vinegar and onion.  Leaves of fennel or mint may be added, particularly if served with fish or escargot. --ref. wiki
For other authentically simile Spanish derived recipes...you may visit:
. http://www.finecooking.com/recipes/romesco_sauce.aspx
. http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Romesco-Sauce-232504

Go HERE for more SAVOURY creations.

Please take note on how I bake and cook...
Here’s a 101 of sorts to make sure that there are no disappointments when trying my creations.  
Also...just so you know...feel free to increase the salt and sweet factor since I'm not high on either of them ;o)
. Use DRY cup measurements for...you guessed it...all DRY ingredients.
Anything DRY gets measured by spooning the overfilled ingredient (never shake the cup) and then level off with a flat edged tool.  Exception...Brown sugar should be packed in and leveled.
. Use LIQUID cup measurements for...all LIQUIDS that cannot be leveled like for example butter, yogurt...etc.  Measure the liquids at eye level to avoid overdoing what the recipe truly needs.

OVENS are unfortunately not created equal.  Mine is so old that it has reached many degrees off it's norm.  It's really worth investing a few dollars to test yours with an appropriate oven thermometer.  You'd be surprised how many ovens I've heard about not being where they should have been.  Before you lose any more ingredients and much time preparing a new recipe...run to the store...you'll thank me later. 

The following RECIPES on FOODESSA...may ALSO be of INTEREST:
. medi Sweet Potato Yogu Chickpea Dip Spread
. PARSLEY sun-dried TOMATO PESTO on PASTA
. Turkish inspired Feta Bean Dip Delight