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

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

[Photograph: Vicky Wasik]

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.

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.
  • Yield:Makes about 1 1/2 cups
  • Active time: 25 minutes
  • Total time:25 minutes


  • 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. 1.

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

  2. 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. 3.

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

  4. 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. 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. 6.

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