Baked Asparagus with Salsa Rossa

Baked Asparagus with Salsa Rossa is a sweet spicy presentation. Other green vegetables such a broccoli rabe or baby bok choi can be substituted for the asparagus. For a slightly smokier version of this dish grill the vegetables instead of baking.

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Baked Asparagus with Salsa Rossa
(Adapted from recipe courtesy of Food & Wine, September, 2016)

Serves 4 – 6

1 bunch asparagus, trimmed
1 cup sun-dried tomatoes, drained
Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
1 red bell pepper, roasted and chopped
4 large pickled hot red peppers, plus 1/4 cup of pickling brine from the jar, chopped
3 Tbsp red wine vinegar
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp sugar
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Shaved Romano and Parmesan

To prepare Salsa Rossa: Bring 1 cup of water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Remove from heat. Add sun-dried tomatoes and red pepper flakes and steep for 1 minutes. In food processor, combine the roasted red pepper, pickled peppers, vinegar and oregano. Pulse until smooth. Add sun-dried tomatoes, including steeping liquid and sugar. Season with salt and pepper. Pulse until tomatoes are not quite smooth. With food processor running, drizzle in oil. Allow to cool.

Preheat oven to 375F. On a foil-lined, rimmed baking sheet place asparagus spears. Drizzle with oil and season with salt and pepper. Bake for 5 to 7 minutes, depending on thickness of the spears, for al dente consistency.

To serve: Spoon out a layer of Salsa Rossa on serving plate, places asparagus spears over Salsa Rossa and garnish with shaved cheese.

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