How to Make Massa de Pimentão (Red Bell Pepper Paste)

red bell peppers
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  • 01 of 07

    Before You Get Started

    This versatile sauce is commonly used in Portuguese cuisine
    Wendy Ponte

    Massa de pimentão is an essential Portuguese marinade (and sauce base) that flavors several of Portugal's most well-known dishes. Until you've actually tried it, it is very hard to describe its unique taste—somewhat salty, somewhat bell peppery, not at all hot, but very, very rich and flavorful! 

    This bright orange paste is the basis of porco alentejana, one of the country's most famous dishes, among many others. You also can use it as is to spread on crackers for a cheese plate, sprinkled with a little fresh parsley on top for color. Mix Portuguese and Italian cuisines by spreading it on crostini and try using it to flavor soups and stews.

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  • 02 of 07

    Salt the Red Peppers

    The peppers for Massa de Pimentão must be properly salted
    Wendy Ponte
    1. Seed and quarter 4 large red bell peppers. Remove all of the white pulp from the inside.
    2. Place the quartered slices of red bell pepper in a glass or ceramic bowl and sprinkle them with 2 tablespoons of coarse salt. Stir it well in order to distribute the salt evenly among the peppers.
    3. Leave this bowl, uncovered and at room temperature, for a full 24 hours.
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  • 03 of 07

    Prepare the Peppers for Roasting

    Prior to roasting, the peppers must be carefully dried
    Wendy Ponte
    1. After sitting for the 24 hours, rinse the salt off of the pepper pieces. Try to get as much of it off as possible and then pat them dry with a clean dishcloth or paper towels.
    2. Spread them, in a single layer with the skin side up, on a cookie sheet or large baking pan.
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  • 04 of 07

    Roast the Peppers

    After salting, the red peppers must be roasted
    Wendy Ponte
    1. Heat the broiler.
    2. Place the peppers under the broiler and cook them until the skins are charred and dark, which should take about 15 to 20 minutes, but since each oven is different, keep an eye on them.
    3. Remove them from the oven and allow them to cool off completely.
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  • 05 of 07

    Remove the Skins from the Peppers

    After the roasted peppers have cooled, the skins must be peeled
    Wendy Ponte
    • Remove the skins from the pepper pieces. They should come off easily.
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  • 06 of 07

    Purée the Peppers

    The peppers need to be pureed in a food processor with garlic and oil
    Wendy Ponte
    1. Place the peppers and 2 large cloves of garlic in a food processor and purée them.
    2. Add 6 tablespoons of good-quality extra-virgin olive oil, a little at a time, while the machine is running until the mixture has reached the consistency of a fine, creamy paste.
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  • 07 of 07

    Store the Massa de Pimentão

    This versatile sauce is commonly used in Portuguese cuisine
    Wendy Ponte

    Massa de pimentão will store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks in an airtight container. If you think you won’t use it all up in that time, put it into an airtight container and freeze it until you need it.