Grilled Vegetables with Salsa Rossa Estiva

When I first saw the recipe for Salsa Rossa Estiva (Summer Red Sauce) in Cucina Piemontese: Cooking from Italy’s Piedmont, I told myself that I would resist making this sauce until it was summer. With Memorial Day as the official start of summer and grilling season, it was the perfect time to try out this recipe. I paired it with some grilled vegetables and it turned a sometimes bland summer BBQ side dish into something flavorful and uniquely Piemontese.

Salsa Rossa Estiva (Summer Red Sauce)
From Cucina Piemontese: Cooking from Italy’s Piedmont
Makes 2 Cups

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped (1/2 cup)
2 cloves chopped garlic
1 sprig fresh rosemary
1 bay leaf
1 sprig fresh sage
6 leaves fresh basil
1 cup canned peeled, crushed tomatoes
2 red bell peppers, roasted, peeled, and seeded

Heat the olive oil over medium heat and saute the onion and garlic until tender. Tie the rosemary, bay leaf, sage and basil together with string and add the bundle to the pan; cook, stirring, for 3 minutes more. Add the tomato and peppers, and cook for 20 minutes more.

Pass the mixture through a food mill or puree briefly in a food processor. Return the sauce to the pan, and cook over low heat for 10 minutes more.

Serve warm.

I paired this sauce with grilled eggplant, zucchini, and green and yellow peppers. This sauce also goes well with sformato, anchovies, or grilled meats.