Photo: Raymond Hom; Styling: Pamela Duncan Silver
Hands-on Time
15 Mins
Total Time
1 Hour 4 Mins
Serves 40 (serving size: about 1 tablespoon)

Romesco refers to the type of chile used to flavor this rich sauce. Romesco chiles can be difficult to find, so we use smoky ancho chiles. Much of the flavor in this sauce hinges on the sweet smoked paprika (pimentón de la Vera dulce); don't substitute regular paprika, which has duller flavor. This batch makes plenty for dressings, to stir into pasta, or to serve with eggs and toast. Freeze leftover sauce in ice-cube trays; transfer to zip-top plastic bags to freeze for up to one month. Thaw in the refrigerator; bring to room temperature to serve.


How to Make It

Step 1

Place ancho chiles in a small saucepan. Cover with water; bring to a boil. Remove from heat; cover and let stand 20 minutes. Drain well. Remove stems, seeds, and membranes from chiles; discard. Place chiles in a medium bowl.

Step 2

Preheat broiler.

Step 3

Cut bell peppers in half lengthwise; discard seeds and membranes. Place pepper halves, skin sides up, on a foil-lined baking sheet; flatten with hand. Broil 10 minutes or until blackened. Place in a paper bag; fold to close tightly. Let stand for 15 minutes. Peel and cut into 2-inch pieces. Add bell peppers to chiles.

Step 4

Reduce oven temperature to 350°.

Step 5

Arrange hazelnuts in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake at 350° for 8 minutes or until toasted. Turn nuts out onto a towel. Roll up towel; rub off skins. Place hazelnuts in a food processor. Add almonds, garlic, and bread to food processor; process 1 minute or until finely ground. Add chile mixture, vinegar, tomato paste, paprika, and ground red pepper; process 1 minute or until combined. With processor on, slowly pour oil through food chute; process until well blended. Add 1/4 cup hot water and salt; process 10 seconds or until combined.

Step 6

Note: Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.

Also appeared in: Cooking Light, May, 2008

Ratings & Reviews

magillesipe's Review

August 30, 2014
I've made a few difference Romesco Sauce recipes in the past, but this is hands down the best I've even tasted. The only substitution I made was Sherry Vinegar for Red wine vinegar. Amazing depth of flavors which are sure to wow your dinner guests. Well worth the work and using quality ingredients. You could easily used bottle roasted peppers and Costco now sells toasted hazelnuts.

TerriS2's Review

September 30, 2013
This is a bit of work but it does make a good amount and I like that it can be frozen. The only thing I will change next time is to reduce the amount of garlic. The garlic breath next day is a bit heavy!

EvanstonCook's Review

March 26, 2009
This sauce is amazing! I made it for a dinner party and served it with grilled green onions and asparagus. It's really addictive. A bit labor-intensive, but totally worth the effort. It will make people eat any vegetable under the sun.