Organic Red Pepper Romesco


springtime entertaining inspiration

STARTING WITH 3 EASY + VERSATILE WAYS TO USE your ORGANIC RED BELL PEPPERS


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It appears that while I was traveling down south on an incredible road trip with my girl Alex, where we thought for sure we would find sun, but instead found snow... spring finally decided to turn up in the northeast. After what seemed like the longest winter ever, I arrived home to all of the trees in bloom, and to temperatures that felt dangerously summery.

With a bottle of wine in hand, we immediately took to our backyard to soak up some of that sun we've been so desperately craving. Maximizing time spent outside as the weather shifts is on the forefront of our mind, especially as we slowly start to tackle the project of fixing up our outside space. After spending the entirety of our spring and summer last year renovating the inside of our house, I think we're extra anxious to make up for lost time.

Which brings me to our latest spring entertaining idea, using a big batch of romesco, served three ways. With some inspiration still lingering from a recent recipe development project, where we created make-ahead lunches, versatility and repurposing of large batch ingredients has been on our mind a lot. We were excited to team up with Divine Flavor to feature some very beautiful organic red bell peppers, a workhorse of an ingredient that steals the show in this flavorful sauce. This vegetarian focused round up of recipes is just what I'm craving as we leave the heaviness of winter meals behind us. Incorporating something as simple as this easy-to-make homemade sauce can go a long way throughout multiple dishes to add a ton of flavor and texture.

Since entertaining, regardless of the season is so often on the forefront of our mind, and since this romesco packs a punch all on its own, we not only wanted to feature it as a base for a grain bowl, and the hero of a pasta salad, but also as a dip with some fresh veggies, where the flavor can really shine, and works great for a crowd. The color combination of fresh vegetables surrounding the bowl of romesco is a centerpiece all on its own, and  since radishes are my favorite this time of year, they're the perfect crunchy element to pair with the peppery dipping sauce.

Pro tip? Let the pasta salad sit overnight. I'm a firm believer that it's always best the next day, after the flavors really have some time to meld together. 

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ROMESCO SAUCE

2 Divine Flavor organic red bell peppers
2 cloves garlic, diced
1 cup slivered almonds, toasted
1/2 cup tomato puree
1/4 cup sherry vinegar
1 tsp cayenne pepper
2 tsp smoked paprika
3/4 cup olive oil
salt and pepper

  • Working carefully over the flame of a gas stove, or on a hot grill, char all sides of the red peppers until blackened and soft about 20 minutes, turning every 3-5 minutes.
  • Transfer pepper to a large bowl and cover very tightly with aluminum foil. Let peppers steam until cool to the touch, about 30 minutes. 

  • Working with a sharp knife, scrape burned and blistered skin from peppers. Remove tops and seeds and slice into strips. 

  • In a food processor combine peppers, garlic, almonds, tomato puree, vinegar, cayenne and paprika. Pulse until finely chopped, scraping down sides. Working in small additions, add olive oil until a smooth consistency is reached.

  • Season to taste with salt and pepper. 



CRUDITÉ PLATTER

with romesco dipping sauce

1/2 cup Romesco sauce
radishes, sliced
mini bell peppers, sliced
cauliflower, roasted

 

  • Serve Romesco sauce with assorted vegetables.
  • Mix raw & cooked for contrasting flavors and texture. 

ROMESCO PASTA SALAD

with broccolini + blistered tomato



8 oz dried gluten-free pasta (shells or penne
1/2 cup Romesco sauce
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1 cup broccolini florets
1/2 cup ricotta salata, crumbled
1 tsp red pepper flake
2 tbs olive oil, divided
salt and pepper

  • Preheat oven to 400°. Toss cherry tomatoes with 1 tbs olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place on a baking sheet and roast until blistered and cooked down, about 10 minutes. Remove and set aside to cool completely. 
  • Meanwhile, bring a pot of water to a boil over high heat. Add pasta and cook according to package directions until al dente. Drain pasta, rinse with cold water to stop cooking and set aside. 
  • In a small skillet over medium high heat, warm 1 tbs olive oil. When shimmering, add broccolini, red pepper flake, and a generous seasoning of salt and pepper. Sauté, stirring frequently until bright green and slightly wilted, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside to cool completely. 
  • In a large bowl, combine pasta, cherry tomatoes, broccolini, ricotta salata, and romesco sauce.
  • Gently toss until combined and season with salt and pepper. 

BLACK QUINOA + CHICKPEA BOWL

 

1 cup black quinoa
1/3 cup Romesco sauce
4 oz asparagus (about 1/2 bunch)
8 oz canned garbanzo beans (drained and rinsed) 
2 tbs dukkah
3 tbs olive oil, divided
salt and peppe

  • Preheat oven to 400°.
  • In a nonreactive bowl toss asparagus with 1 tbs olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Arrange on 1/2 baking sheet and repeat with additional 1 tbs olive oil, garbanzo beans and salt and pepper, arranging on other half. Roast until asparagus is soft and tender and chickpeas are crunchy, about 15 minutes. 
  • Meanwhile, rinse quinoa. In a medium saucepan over medium high heat, warm remaining 1 tbs olive oil and toast quinoa, stirring constantly, about 3 minutes.
  • Add 2 cups water and increase heat to high. When pot is at a rolling boil, reduce to a simmer and cover. Cook 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand for an additional 5 minutes. Open lid and fluff with fork. 
  • To assemble, spread Romesco across bottom and sides of bowl. Layer in quinoa with asparagus and garbanzo beans.
  • Top with dukkah. 

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Organic Red Bell Peppers provided by Divine Flavor