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Salsa Rossa

This bright, spicy, sun-dried tomato-and-pepper puree is one of the traditional condiments for bollito misto, the classic Italian dish of tender boiled meats.

  • Total Time:
  • Servings: makes 4 cups

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  • 2 cups oil-packed, sun-dried tomatoes (12 ounces), drained

  • 1 1/4 cups red wine vinegar

  • 5 large hot red chiles

  • 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing

  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic

  • 1 medium sweet onion, thinly sliced

  • 2 pounds ripe plum tomatoes, peeled and chopped

  • Pinch of sugar

  • Salt


  1. In a medium saucepan, combine the sun-dried tomatoes with the vinegar and 1 1/2 cups of water and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat, cover and let stand until the tomatoes are very soft, about 1 hour. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup of the soaking liquid.
  2. Meanwhile, preheat the broiler. Brush the chiles with olive oil and broil 6 inches from the heat, turning occasionally, until they are lightly charred all over, about 10 minutes. Transfer the chiles to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let stand until cool. Peel and seed the chiles.
  3. In a medium, deep skillet, heat 1/2 cup of the olive oil. Add the garlic and cook over moderate heat until softened, about 2 minutes. Add the onion and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the plum tomatoes and the sugar and cook until the liquid is evaporated and the tomatoes begin to break down, about 5 minutes.
  4. Scrape the tomato-onion mixture into a food processor. Add the chiles, sun-dried tomatoes and their reserved 1/2 cup of soaking liquid and process until smooth. Strain the puree through a fine sieve to remove the seeds and skins. Stir the remaining 1/4 cup of olive oil into the puree and season the salsa with salt.

Make Ahead

The salsa rossa can be refrigerated for up to 1 week.

Photo © Michael Turek Published December 2012

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