Walnut sauce: recipes and ideas

If we think of Liguria, we think of grabbing our pestle and mortar and some aromatic herbs and nuts and making a batch of pesto, the world most famous basil sauce. But, as is so often the case, living in the shadow of the wildly popular pesto are some less known but equally delicious alternatives. And that’s certainly the case with walnut sauce!
According to traditions, walnut sauce is not so much a sibling of basil pesto but a long-lost relative, having been brought to Liguria by the sailors of Genoa from faraway Persia. In time, the abundance of walnut trees in the region and the traditional pesto preparation technique helped make “sarsa de noxe” an authentic Ligurian dish – one that has constantly evolved over the years as new takes have been tried out.

According to the original recipe, the walnuts were pressed in the mortar along with garlic, parsley and bread that had been dipped in milk. However, this technique was eventually abandoned, as testified by an edition of 1893 of Cuciniera Genovese [Genoese Cooking] by Giovan Battista Ratto.

How we make it

Walnut sauce is traditionally used in Ligurian cooking to provide a contrast to the bitter herb filling of the classic pansoti pasta. It’s now found throughout Italy, with its unique flavor bringing a delicious new dimension to countless recipes.

Like pesto, walnut sauce is known for its versatility. As such, we wanted to make sure we maintained that characteristic in our recipe.
Take the best walnut kernels and blitz with some of our delicious Olive Oil, cheese and ricotta to create a sauce with a creamy and velvety texture which is ready to eat straight away – no additional cooking required!
A hint of garlic seals the deal, making our Walnut Sauce perfectly balanced and harmonious. It’s a sauce where the stars of the show – the walnuts, of course – are allowed to shine through, lending a delicate sweet flavor to every dish.
Looking for recipes which use ready-made walnut sauce? Something perfect for a delicious aperitivo or your next family Sunday lunch? Here’s a few ideas for you...

Panzerotti filled with walnut sauce and caciocavallo cheese

Walnut sauce is so versatile that it can be used for some quite unexpected dishes, such as these panzerotti filled with walnut sauce and cheese. They're perfect for eating with friends!

Prepare the panzerotti dough using flour, yeast, our Extra Virgin Olive Oil Fruttato, water and a pinch of salt. Once you've formed a dough, leave to rise for at least 3 hours. Once doubled in size, make the dough into 150g balls and leave to rise for another 2 hours.

Next, flatten each ball so that you have a disc of about one centimeter tall. Spread a large spoonful of Walnut Sauce onto each piece of dough, then top with cubed caciocavallo cheese.

Now, fold each disc in half and press down on the edges to form a seal which will keep the filling in during cooking. Finally, bake at 250°C for 20-25 minutes.

Fusilli with walnut sauce and crispy breadcrumbs

The most well-known Walnut Sauce recipes are – without doubt – pasta dishes.

Fusilli with walnut sauce and crispy breadcrumbs is the ideal crowd-pleasing pasta dish, but it also works a treat during the festive period.

While the Fusilli are cooking in plenty of salted boiling water, fry some finely diced celery and breadcrumbs in a drizzle of our Olive Oil until crisp. Once the pasta is cooked, toss in the celery and breadcrumbs then add the Walnut Sauce. Garnish with some chopped rosemary.
There’s a reason why we've chosen fusilli for this dish – the shape of the pasta means that each piece will capture as much of that creamy walnut Sauce as possible!

Fillet of pork in walnut sauce

If you’re on the lookout for a recipe guaranteed to wow your guests, you just have to try this tender fillet of pork in walnut sauce – it really is a special dish.

The fillet of pork is a very lean and tender cut of meat, with a delicate flavor that works perfectly with the unique taste of our Walnut Sauce.

First off, sauté some chopped onions, rosemary and sage in a casserole dish. Next, add the pork and sear on all sides before deglazing with a glass of white wine. Allow this to reduce down. Next, add one glass each of milk and stock, a pinch of salt and a twist of white pepper. Cover and leave to cook on a low heat for around 25 minutes.

Once cooked, remove the fillet from the dish, move it to a chopping board and carve.

Carefully mix the Walnut Sauce into the cooking juices, then pour this over the meat.
Our Walnut Sauce has a distinctive creamy and delicate texture. It makes it the ideal ingredient in many elegant dishes! Check our more of our walnut sauce recipes in our magazine. Buon appetito!