I’m a really awesome girlfriend. Due to my dear Italian boyfriend’s culinary preferences, the past year I’ve been choking down a lot of sausages (hehe) and peppers. Not to mention making homemade cavatelli. And peanut butter cookies, which I don’t really even like. Let’s not even talk about all that ball handling. (And really, why hasn’t Tom been doing his part and taking me out for sushi?) But the thing is, I’m not really that crazy about sausages. And while I may be pretty apathetic on the whole forced meats things, roasted red peppers? Ugh. As often as I’ve tried to trick myself into liking them, they’ve really just remained on the list of “Things Meleyna Does Not Want in her Mouth.”
But again, because I’m so amazing, when I see recipes for things like Pork Roast with Roasted Romesco, I bookmark them. Not because I would enjoy them, but because my darling little love muffin would. (Hey, don’t judge, the plan worked, okay?) So imagine my surprise when I fell hard for this stuff. It was one of those “why the hell haven’t you met my mouth yet” things. This smooth but somewhat gritty, thick with nuts and bread, rich with garlic and olive oil, puree of ROASTED RED PEPPERS. I know, I hardly even know myself these days.
It was originally intended as a foil to rich pork fat of a bone-in heritage roast, but let’s be real kids. The first time I made it, it went alongside a pork tenderloin, cause that’s what Mama took out of the freezer for dinner. I’ve since done it with regular old pork loin roast, which ha, let-me-tell-you about those leftovers. Slices of pork loin sandwiched between good bread schmeared thick with that romesco, with caramelized onions and some shards of good, sharp cheese? I am drooling just thinking about it, and I promise it’s not just cause I opted for the couch and SYTYCD instead of making dinner. But that’s a whole ‘nother story.
But really, pork is not the only answer to romesco’s call. I did it for Parker’s birthday with some grilled shrimp for a sort of shrimp cocktail in disguise. I’m sure it’d be lovely with some chicken for a quick mid-week meal. But honestly, the easiest way to use up leftovers? As every working mother will tell you, pasta’s a great vehicle for anything knocking around the fridge needing to be used up. (It will need a little of the pasta cooking water to be thinned into sauce consistency.) Really, it goes with just about anything.
In other news: I’m really using my Twitter these days, and honestly, it’s getting to be a little out-of-control. Anyway, if you miss me bunches in between my wildly entertaining posts here, you can follow me over here. And as always, you can always find me over on Facebook.
Pan Roasted Romesco Sauce
adapted from Bon Appetit
4 large roasted red peppers (jarred is fine)
6 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
1 ripe plum tomato, rough chopped (I used a few cherry tomatoes, since this is what I had on hand)
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup toasted almonds, Marcona if you can find them
1/4 cup fresh breadcrumbs (or one slice white bread, crusts removed)
1 cup dry Sherry, or a tablespoon of Sherry vinegar
If you’re oven’s not already on, preheat it to 325. If it’s already on, just leave it at whatever temperature it’s at.
Arrange the peppers, tomatoes, and garlic in a baking dish (I used a 12-inch oven proof skillet). Pour over the olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Toss it in the oven and let it roast for about a half an hour, then remove and let cool slightly.
While that’s happening, place the almonds and the bread(crumbs) in the bowl of a food processor. Whiz around until it reaches a sandy consistency. Add the pepper mixture and puree until smooth.
Now here’s where we improvise a little. I typically serve this with some sort of protein, and what you need to do now is simply deglaze your protein pan with the Sherry. So if you made a pork roast, simply pour the Sherry into your roasting dish, set it over two burners at medium-highish heat, scrape up the bits, and simmer until you have about a quarter cup of liquid. If you sauteed off a couple of chicken breasts (or some shrimp, or some pork chops, etc.), just pour the Sherry into the hot skillet you used, again, scraping up the brown bits and reducing to a quarter cup of liquid. Then pour your lovely reduced alcohol into the pepper sauce, and puree it to combine.
Now, if you’re not making a protein, or you perhaps grilled it, you’re left with no pan to deglaze. If you do in fact have lovely brown bits leftover in your pepper-roasting dish, and it is stove-top friendly, by all means deglaze away. If, like me, this is not the case, you can simply add about a tablespoon of Sherry vinegar, with maybe a tablespoon or two of water, to the pepper mixture. Puree to combine.
Schmear this thickly over everything you can find, and be okay with being wrong about something. After all, it’s not likely to happen ever again.