Friday, July 06, 2007

Presto Pasta Night #19

For this week's Presto Pasta Night hosted by Ruth, I've decided to feature another traditional sauce from Liguria.

Liguria is home to the ever popular Pesto so it's no surprise to find that this "salsa di noce" or Walnut sauce is also from this region. It's made in a similar way to pesto but instead of basil, walnuts are used.

There are probably as many ways to make this as there are Italians so to be safe, I will say this is my interpretation of the sauce.

walnut sauce

Fettucine con Salsa di Noce/Fettucine with Walnut Sauce

Egg Noodle Fettucine
grated Pecorino, extra
Walnut Sauce:
75 grams walnuts
25 grams pine nuts
1 garlic clove, sliced finely
20 grams grated Pecorino
1 tablespoon Lemon-infused Olive oil (or add 1 teaspoon finely ground lemon rind)
1 tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive oil

Make the Walnut Sauce:

This step is optional - Place the walnuts in a bowl and cover with boiling water. Let them sit for 5 minutes to soften the skins. Strain and then brush away any loose skin.

Put the walnuts, pinenuts, garlic and pecorino into a processor and pulse until coarsely ground. Add the olive oil and process again until finely ground. You don't want this to be smooth like a paste, you still want to see small pieces of nuts.

You could also use a mortar and pestle to make this sauce if you so desire.

For this recipe, I'm using egg noodle fettucine - it's one of my favourite forms of dried pasta. Best of all it cooks in about 4 minutes. It's usually presented in these little "nidi" or nests.


While the pasta is cooking place a generous knob of butter into a pan and let this slowly melt - I'm looking to make a burnt butter sauce that will just add another dimension to this dish. As soon as the butter solids have coloured add in the walnut paste. Stir this well so it melts into the butter, you should get the aroma of lemon and garlic as the sauce heats up.

Toss in the drained, cooked pasta and stir well.

Serve into individual bowls and generously sprinkle over some more grated Pecorino.

walnut sauce

It's fresh and light and makes an interesting change from the norm.

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  1. Haalo, it's the first time I see this sauce and oh, my, it looks delicious!

  2. I love this! This is my kind of dish, deceptively simple, but great depth of taste. I can just imagine how good that tastes. Wonderful pictures

  3. AnonymousJuly 06, 2007

    This is so unique! I've never seen anything like it and I'm dying to try it.

  4. Looks simple and delicious! I do a similar thing with pistachios. Yum.

  5. Haalo, I like your interpretation. I use walnuts quite a lot in my pesto. I did it as an experiment once because I ran out of pine nuts and have been hooked ever since. I didn't now that it's commonly used in Liguria.

  6. Thanks Patricia!

    Thanks Sher - it's a good sauce if you're looking for a change

    Thanks Christine - hope you give it try!

    Thanks Stephen - using pistachios would probably make quite a vibrant sauce.

    Thanks Nora - I used some pine nuts in this because I quite like their texture but I think it would more traditional to use just walnuts.

  7. That looks so wonderful and I can almost smell the dish from your wonderful photos. Our summer weather here in Paris is pretty lame so far, I may cook that up this week!

  8. This looks delicious. Your pictures make it fantastic.

  9. AnonymousJuly 09, 2007

    I'm really liking the idea for this sauce, even more so because of the walnuts I just bought over the weekend! Now if I can just pick up some Pecorino, I should be good to go!

  10. Thanks Hilda - I hope you enjoy the pasta and that summer improves

    Thanks Dayna!

    Thanks Ellie - you could use parmesan or grana instead of Pecorino.

  11. This looks great, Haalo. I'm also an avid fan of fettucine!

    And good use of the walnuts, they go brilliantly with pasta. I buy walnut and gorgonzola tortellini all the time for a quick snack, lunch or even an evening meal if I'm not in the mood to be creative.

  12. Thanks Trig - walnut and gorgonzola are a great flavour combination.

  13. I made this last week, was delish! Love your site, love your recipes. Thanks again.

  14. Thank you Narelle - so happy to hear you've enjoyed the recipes


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