Skip to main content


Years ago, I used to work at a Spanish restaurant in London, where I started the day by roasting peppers and almonds to make Romesco sauce. I can still recall the smell in the air, sweet and nutty: this dish is inspired by memories of those scented mornings. Use Romano peppers, if you can, as I think they carry more sweetness, but ordinary red peppers will do. I buy smoked almonds either from Brindisa or our local health food shop, but if you can’t find them, use blanched almonds instead, and – if you have any – use smoked salt to add a hint of smokiness to the pesto.

Subscribe to my free newsletter to see the full recipe.

I won’t bombard you – and I will never share your address or use it for any other contact.

Preheat the oven to 180°C fan/400°F/gas mark 6.

Place the peppers, onion and garlic onto a baking sheet lined with baking parchment, drizzle with olive oil and bake for 20-25 minutes until the peppers have started to blister and the onions are soft, then remove from the oven and leave to one side to cool a little.

Place the smoked almonds in the bowl of a food processor or mini chopper and blend for 10–20 seconds until they are roughly chopped. Add the roasted vegetables and lemon juice and start blending, slowly pouring the olive oil through the hole in the lid. Blend until you have a nice consistent paste, then season to taste with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Transfer to a large saucepan and leave to one side until you are ready to cook your pasta.

Bring a large pan of water to the boil before adding a generous amount of table salt. Carefully drop the pasta into the boiling water. If you are using fresh extruded pasta cook for 2–3 minutes, but if you are using dried pasta, check the packet instructions and cook until al dente.

Meanwhile, warm the sauce on a low heat, loosening it with half a ladleful of the pasta cooking water.

Drain the pasta and add to the sauce, reserving a jugful of pasta cooking water in case you need to loosen the sauce further. Toss the pasta well and check the seasoning again. Serve straightaway along with plenty of freshly grated pecorino cheese, and a fresh green salad or some steamed broccoli on the side.

Vegan option:

  • substitute the pecorino with nutritional yeast or pangrattato