Red Pepper Paste: My Secret Ingredient

Red Pepper Paste

Red Pepper Paste

I’m all fired up in the kitchen today! Got my #RedPepperPaste, got my energy, and I’m ready to work! It’s one my of secret ingredients in the kitchen. Something that I always have handy.

In Portuguese, it’s called Massa de Pimentão and there are many versions; some prepare with red bell peppers, some prepare with roasted bell peppers, but I love this version David Leite developed using two kids of paprika at his cookbook The New Portuguese Table. Throw at many recipes, use it as a condiment, a seasoning, and your cooking will improve a million points!

David Leite also wrote a beautiful memoir called Notes On a Banana, a candid, courageous and funny story about family, food, mental illness and sexual identity. I read it in about a week! Highly recommend!


Red Pepper Paste

Recipe adapted from The New Portuguese Table, from my dear friend and author David Leite.

Makes about 1 cup


2 tablespoons sweet paprika

2 tablespoons sweet smoked paprika

¼ cup dry red wine

8 to 10 garlic cloves

2 bay leaves

1 tablespoons tomato paste

1 ½ tablespoon fresh lemon juice

7 sprigs fresh cilantro

5 sprigs fresh parsley

1 ½ tablespoons kosher salt

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

¼ cup olive oil


  • Dump both types of paprika, the wine, garlic, bay leaves, tomato paste, lemon juice, cilantro, parsley, salt and pepper, into a food processor or mini chop and pulse until the garlic and herbs are minced Scrape down any chunky bits from the sides of the bowl.
  • While the motor is running, pour in the olive oil and continue whirring until the paste is slick and homogeneous, 1 to 2 minutes. Use the mixture immediately, or spoon into a small glass jar with a tight-fitting lid and refrigerate. The paste will keep for up to a month in the refrigerator.


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