Pumpkin Romesco Sauce

Pumpkin Romesco Sauce

Romesco sauce originated in northeastern Spain. Traditional ‘salsa romesco’ is accidentally vegan, and consists primarily of tomatoes, almonds, roasted red bell peppers and stale bread. Spanish fishermen created the sauce to accompany their seafood dishes. However, romesco is incredibly versatile and makes a great accompaniment to many pasta and vegetable dishes, and easily stands alone as a dip or sandwich spread.

My first experience with romesco was alongside grilled asparagus, one of my favorite veggies. As I


ate the sauce, I just adored the way the nutty flavors of the asparagus, brought out by grilling, played with the earthy almonds and the breadcrumbs in the sauce. I knew this was a sauce I could have some fun with.

Romesco had slipped my mind until the other night. I saw the signs all over the kitchen:
1. A heel of French boule left overnight and rock solid.
2. Blanched almonds leftover from a batch of homemade granola.
3. A partial jar of prepared tomato sauce from last week’s pizza.

Problem? Traditional romesco recipes call for roasted red bell peppers. But I didn’t have any. So how was I going to add some depth to this sauce? Got it: get brave and reach for the leftover pumpkin puree. If I’ve learned anything over the years, it’s that the best culinary adventures begin with deep breath and sudden jump. The reward is in the sauce.

Pumpkin Romesco Sauce
Yield: About 1 cup

1 slice staleFrench bread (I used the heel for extra smoky crunch) or 1/4 cup dry coarse bread crumbs
1/4 cup blanched almond slivers
2 Tbsp almond meal
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp sherry vinegar (or red wine vinegar)
1/3 cup prepared tomato sauce or fresh tomato, seeded and diced
1/3 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 cup water (or more if you want to thin it out to use as pasta sauce)
1 Tbsp tomato paste concentrate (optional, mostly for color)

In a food processor, pulse bread, almonds and almond meal into a coarse mixture. Add all other ingredients except water and mix until thoroughly combined. Add water a little at a time until you reach the consistency you desire. The amount of water will depend on the size and dryness of your bread and on whether you want the sauce to be spreadable.

The sauce will keep in the fridge in an airtight container for a week.

Note: I suggest using the least amount of water needed to make the sauce come together. When using as a pasta sauce, I like to add a ladle of the pasta cooking water to the sauce, which thins to a perfect consistency for tossing with your pasta.

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Eva Rosenberg

Eva Rosenberg

Welcome to Eva's Kitchen where I share my adventures in cooking. My creations may not always turn out Pinterest perfect, but I usually end up with a funny picture or an interesting meal. Thanks for stopping by!


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