Italian Salsa Rossa (Tomato and Bell Pepper Sauce for Boiled Meats) Recipe

Photograph: Vicky Wasik

Why It Works

  • Sautéed carrot and garlic add flavor and depth.
  • Tomatoes and a roasted red pepper add a savory fruity kick.
  • A panade made from bread soaked in white wine vinegar thickens the sauce while adding a bright, punchy tanginess.

This bright orange sauce is perfect as a condiment for boiled meats or spread on a sandwich. Flavored with tomatoes, a roasted red pepper, and sautéed aromatic vegetables, it's thickened with a panade made from bread and vinegar, and enriched with Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese.

Recipe Facts

Active: 25 mins
Total: 25 mins
Serves: 8 to 10 servings
Makes: 1 1/2 cups

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  • 0.7 ounces (20g) white or country bread (about 1 slice), crusts discarded and bread diced

  • 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon (35ml) white wine vinegar

  • 1 large red bell pepper (about 8 3/4 ounces; 250g)

  • 3 tablespoons (45ml) extra-virgin olive oil, divided

  • 1 medium carrot (2 ounces; 60g), minced

  • 3 medium cloves garlic, minced

  • 1 (14-ounce; 395g) can whole peeled tomatoes with their juices

  • 1 ounce (30g) freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano or Grana Padano

  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper


  1. In a small bowl, combine bread with vinegar, tossing until bread is completely soaked. Set panade aside.

  2. Set the whole bell pepper directly over the flame of a gas burner or under an oven's broiler and cook, turning, until skin is charred all over. Transfer to a small heatproof bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let stand 5 minutes.

  3. Using paper towels, rub off and discard charred skin from the bell pepper. Remove stem and seeds. Roughly chop pepper flesh.

  4. In a small saucepan, heat 1 tablespoon (15ml) olive oil over medium heat until shimmering. Add carrot and garlic and cook, stirring, until softened but not browned, about 5 minutes. Add tomato to saucepan along with the bell pepper flesh and bring to a simmer, then cook for 2 minutes. Remove from heat.

  5. Using an immersion blender or countertop blender, purée tomato-pepper mixture, panade, cheese, and the remaining 2 tablespoons (30ml) olive oil until smooth. Season with salt and pepper.

  6. The salsa can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 5 days. Serve at room temperature.

Special equipment

Blender or immersion blender

This Recipe Appears In

Nutrition Facts (per serving)
72 Calories
5g Fat
5g Carbs
2g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 8 to 10
Amount per serving
Calories 72
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 5g 7%
Saturated Fat 1g 5%
Cholesterol 3mg 1%
Sodium 133mg 6%
Total Carbohydrate 5g 2%
Dietary Fiber 1g 4%
Total Sugars 2g
Protein 2g
Vitamin C 49mg 243%
Calcium 38mg 3%
Iron 0mg 2%
Potassium 161mg 3%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)