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Romesco, Remade

April 1, 2014

Rochelle Billow

When you think “romesco,” you probably don’t think about carrots—this Spanish staple is traditionally made with red peppers. But that’s no reason not to branch out. Here, we combine buttery pine nuts, grated garlic, and Aleppo pepper with sweet roasted and puréed carrots for a truly memorable sauce you’ll want to put on just about anything. Start tonight with a simple roast pork tenderloin; the meat is seared to a gorgeous golden brown, then finished in the oven while you pull together the sauce. Serve it all with a simple green salad and suddenly you’ve got dinner…and a new sauce go-to.

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Romesco is to Spain what pesto is to Italy. Typically made with red peppers, this carrot version led to some new ideas.


  • ¼ cup pine nuts
  • 1½ pound small carrots, peeled, halved lengthwise if larger
  • 5 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 large pork tenderloin (about 1½ lb.)
  • 1 small garlic clove, finely grated
  • 1 tsp Aleppo pepper or ½ tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar, divided
  • 2 cups spicy greens (such as watercress or baby mustard)

Preheat oven to 350°. Toast pine nuts on a rimmed baking sheet, tossing occasionally, until golden brown, 8–10 minutes; let cool.

Increase temperature to 450°. Toss carrots with 1 Tbsp. oil on another rimmed baking sheet; season with salt and black pepper. Roast, tossing occasionally, until softened and browned, 15–20 minutes; let cool slightly.

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Meanwhile, heat 1 Tbsp. oil in a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Season pork with salt and black pepper and cook, turning occasionally, until golden brown, 10–15 minutes. Transfer skillet to oven and roast pork until a thermometer inserted into thickest portion registers 145°, 8–10 minutes. Let rest 5 minutes before slicing.

Pulse pine nuts, garlic, and remaining 3 Tbsp. oil in a food processor to a coarse paste. Add Aleppo pepper, one-fourth of carrots, 1 Tbsp. vinegar, and 1 Tbsp. water. Process, adding more water as needed, to a coarse purée; season romesco with salt, black pepper, and more vinegar, if desired.

Toss greens with remaining carrots and remaining 1 Tbsp. vinegar in a large bowl; season with salt and black pepper. Serve pork with romesco and salad.

RECIPE BY Alison Roman PHOTOGRAPH BY Christina Holmes

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