Top | Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking

Salsa Rossa

(recipe, Marcella Hazan)


  1. 3 meaty red or yellow bell peppers
  2. 5 medium yellow onions, peeled and sliced thin
  3. ¼ cup vegetable oil
  4. A tiny pinch of chopped hot chile pepper
  5. 2 cups canned imported Italian plum tomatoes, with their juice, or 3 cups cut-up fresh tomatoes, if very ripe
  6. Salt


  1. Split the peppers lengthwise and remove the cores and seeds. Skin the peppers using a peeler, then cut them into slices more or less ½-inch wide.
  2. Put the onions and oil in a saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring, until the onions are wilted and soft but not brown.
  3. Add the peppers and continue cooking over medium heat until both peppers and onions are very soft and their bulk has been reduced by half.
  4. Add the chile pepper, tomatoes, and salt, and continue cooking, letting the sauce simmer gently, for 25 minutes or so, until the tomatoes and oil separate and the fat floats free.
  5. Taste and correct for salt, and serve hot.


Salsa rossa can be prepared up to two weeks in advance and refrigerated in an airtight container. Reheat gently and stir thoroughly before serving.