Romesco Sauce – Spanish Red Pepper and Hazelnut (or Almond) Sauce – Recipe

Gigandes Beans With Romesco and Saffron Broth

Romesco is a wonderful Spanish sauce made from roasted red peppers, tomatoes, roasted garlic and toasted nuts. It can be used as a party dip or spread, served as part of a tapas-style meal, stirred into mayonaise, slathered onto a sandwich…

Romesco is typically thickened with bread, but I wanted a thinner consistency for the dish you see in the picture (with gigandes beans, saffron broth, potatoes and leeks), so I omitted it. If you want thicker romesco, toast or pan-fry one slice of rustic bread and include it with the rest of the ingredients in the blender. (That dish was my contribution to our weekly culinary challenge over on the ChefSteps forums.)

Update, 2/13/2013 – we’ve got a video for the whole recipe up at ChefSteps now. Scroll down the page for a video of the subrecipes inlcuding this romesco.

Almonds or hazelnuts are most commonly used. I went with all hazelnuts, and amped up the flavor using roasted hazelnut oil. If you happen to have that available, it is aromatic and wonderful. Hazelnut oil makes incredible salad dressings too. And if not, the romesco will still be great with extra-virgin olive oil.

I was in the mood to roast the peppers with a blowtorch. It is fast, and you get a very even blistering of the skin. The flesh doesn’t get cooked as much, leaving a fresher flavor that I quite like. But you can just as well use a more traditional method – see this Polenta with Pepperonata recipe for the technique.

Romesco Sauce – Spanish Red Pepper and Hazelnut (or Almond) Sauce – Vegetarian, Vegan, and Gluten free

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Total Time: 55 minutes

Yield: 1 cup

Romesco Sauce – Spanish Red Pepper and Hazelnut (or Almond) Sauce – Vegetarian, Vegan, and Gluten free

  • 1 head garlic + a bit of extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 40 grams skinned hazelnuts (about 1/3 cup)
  • 2 canned tomatoes (from one can), preferably San Marzano
  • 5 grams kosher salt (about 1 teaspoon)
  • 8 grams sherry vinegar (about 1 1/2 teaspoons)
  • 3.5 grams smoked paprika (about 1 1/2 teaspoons)
  • 80 grams hazelnut oil if available, otherwise extra-virgin olive oil (about 6 tablespoons)
  1. Preheat oven to 400 F. Trim top off head of garlic, place on foil, rub with a bit of extra-virgin olive oil. Wrap and roast at until tender and brown, about 40 mins.
  2. Thoroughly blister red pepper with blowtorch; set in covered bowl for 5 mins. Rub off skin with a paper towel. Split and discard stem, seeds, and ribs. Roughly chop. (Alternatively, you can roast the red peppers under the broiler, or, very carefully, on a stove burner, and then proceed as directed.)
  3. Toast hazelnuts in a skillet over medium heat until lightly browned and fragrant.
  4. Put hazelnuts in a blender and process at medium speed until powdered. Squeeze garlic cloves out of skin and add to blender. Add bell pepper, tomatoes, salt, vinegar and smoked paprika and process to a paste. With blender running on low speed, drizzle in the the hazelnut oil. Taste and adjust seasoning.

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Posted by Michael Natkin on Monday, January 28th, 2013 in Cooking Videos, Gluten-Free or modifiable, Recipes, Vegan or Modifiable.

10 Responses to “Romesco Sauce – Spanish Red Pepper and Hazelnut (or Almond) Sauce – Recipe”

  1. Reply
    January 28, 2013 at 7:23 am #

    Looks great, and is a favorite of mine! Just one question..the “2 canned tomatoes” is kind of vague…are we talking 2 cans of tomatoes, or 2 each tomatoes out of a can…you get the idea..can you give a weight or cup/gram measurement for us? Thanks! Can’t wait to make it!

  2. Reply
    January 28, 2013 at 9:25 am #

    The distinctive flavour of Romesco sauce comes from the flesh of (hydrated) dried «nyora» peppers. A regular red bell pepper is definitely not the same, but I guess it’s as close as you can get since you can’t find «nyora» peppers in the US.

    Btw, this post if very timely, Romesco sauce is best eaten with «calçot» onions during «calçotades» (a popular gastronomical event), and the season just started last week! Unfortunately «calçots» aren’t available in the US either, and they are even harder to substitute than «nyora» peppers.

    And Spanish sauce? I think you meant Catalan. 🙂

    • Reply
      January 28, 2013 at 9:45 am #

      I’ve heard of the nyora peppers, but never seen them for sale in the US. They aren’t on Amazon, nor at the Spanish Table, which is right downstairs from my office. I’d love to try them someday! Feel free to send me a care package of peppers and calcot ;)!!

  3. Reply
    January 28, 2013 at 10:22 am #

    I love that you use hazelnut oil in the recipe, that always adds a nice touch!

  4. Reply
    January 28, 2013 at 11:35 am #

    I just got a blowtorch but haven’t yet started using it, so I apologize in advance for the basic question… Where do you place the peppers as you torch them? Do you hold them, place them on a dish, and if so, what kind of dish?

    • Reply
      January 28, 2013 at 12:45 pm #

      Please don’t hold it in your hand! Place it on a heatproof dish on a heatproof surface, and use tongs to turn it to get to all sides. For example a sheet pan on top of one of your stove burners would be good.

      • Reply
        January 28, 2013 at 1:06 pm #

        Thanks a lot for the quick reply Michael!

  5. Reply
    February 11, 2013 at 4:47 pm #

    Why do I always forget how delicious this sauce is? Thanks for reminding me!

  6. Reply
    February 13, 2013 at 3:02 pm #

    Here’s the video for the whole dish, and if you scroll down the page you’ll see the video for the romesco and the other components: link to

  7. Reply
    February 15, 2013 at 12:27 am #

    Mmm I love romesco but have always made it with almonds – I’ll have to try your recipe with hazelnuts. The hazelnut oil sounds like an awesome addition.

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