Walnut sauce is a lesser-known Italian sauce for pasta that's easy to make and surprisingly creamy and flavorful given the humble ingredients. A great way to change up pasta night!
This post may contain affiliate links, where we earn from qualifying purchases. See more details in the policy page.
Every now and then I get a little nostalgic for the farmers' market that was near where we used to live in London. It's not that it was big, but I absolutely loved some of the vendors.
From the apple stall that had the best single-variety apple juices, to the butcher who sold cuts just from his own herd and what he hunted that was always amazing quality, and not forgetting the various cheese producers.
Then there were the stalls that came less frequently that we always wanted to catch, like the pesto stall.
From our various conversations, they were a couple from Italy who made and jarred a range of wonderful pestos. While these days I generally make my own arugula pesto and others, they were some of the few I'd happily pay for as they were that good.
One they had that was new to me was walnut pesto or walnut sauce, but it's one that has stuck with me. I decided it was about time to make some myself, so I looked at a few recipes including this one for guidance.
Where is walnut sauce from?
Walnut sauce is from the Genoa area, which is actually where my husband studied for a month so he knew of the sauce. Somehow it's not one that is well known which is a shame as it has a lovely flavor and is easy to make.
The sauce itself is relatively thick, but you can thin it out a little with some pasta water as you mix it into your cooked pasta.
There aren't many ingredients, so it's one you want to make sure you use good ones, and so I naturally wanted to use some of my delicious Pomora extra virgin olive oil. Its fantastic flavor goes so well with the savory nuttiness of the walnuts.
How to make walnut sauce
This walnut sauce is really easy to make as all you do is soak some bread in milk, then blend it up with some walnuts, garlic and parmesan. Add some olive oil and blend until smooth.
Then once you cook your pasta, mix in the sauce along with a little of the pasta cooking water. You'll be amazed at how smooth, creamy and flavorful it becomes.
We had it with some homemade pumpkin pasta and it was fantastic, but it would go with any pasta, gnocchi or a simple ravioli. In fact it's traditionally served with pansotti, a kind of herb ravioli.
Easy to make, simple ingredients but making such a tasty sauce, this walnut sauce is one you have to try.
Try these other pasta sauces:
- Pesto alla Trapanese (a Sicilian fresh tomato almond sauce)
- Hidden vegetable pasta sauce
- Creamy bacon sauce with spinach
- Butternut squash sauce
Plus get more Italian recipes in the archives.
- ⅓ oz bread 10g, approx ½ slice weight without tough crusts, ideally white
- ¼ cup milk 60ml
- ½ cup chopped walnuts 60g
- 1 tbsp parmesan grated
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil recommend Pomora
- some salt, pepper and pasta water (see below)
- Tear up the bread and put it into a small bowl. Pour over the milk and eave to soak while you measure out everything else.
- Put the walnuts, garlic and grated parmesan into a small blender or food processor. Squeeze out the excess milk from the bread and add it along with a little salt and pepper. Blend them all together until well combined and smooth.
- Add the olive oil to the blender/food processor and pulse until smooth. Set aside until pasta is cooked. When your pasta is ready, don't discard all the pasta cooking water - keep some so you can add a little of the pasta water to thin down the sauce and help it become nice and creamy.
Thanks to Pomora for sponsoring this post.
See some of my favorite cooking tools and ingredients in the Caroline's Cooking Amazon store.
See some other ideas for cooking and baking with nuts:
- Barberry Pistachio Saffron Rice by Food Lust People Love
- Canadian Pecan Butter Tarts by Tara's Multicultural Table
- Healthy Granola Cakes by Sneha's Recipes
- Pecan Chicken by Family Around The Table
- Pumpkin Nut Braid by Passion Kneaded
- Pumpkin-Nut Crumble Cake by Hardly A Goddess
- Pumpkin Praline Cheesecake by A Day in the Life on the Farm