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Walnut sauce for pasta?

I'm always looking for non-tomato pasta sauces and would like to re-create a walnut sauce that I used to buy. Mark Bittman suggests making a sauce out of pureed walnuts/olive oil/garlic/water. Any other ideas? TIA

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  1. In that vein, sub. walnuts for pignoli for pesto.

    3 Replies
    1. re: shanagain

      I also like using pecans as the nut. Other green herbs work well to sub for the basil, too. Fresh mint is especially good if you're serving lamb.

      1. re: rockycat

        I like pecans, as well. Actually, I'm pretty easy - there's not much I don't like. But one particular favorite around here is to sub spinach for much of the basil - it "stretches" the basil & makes pesto for a BUNCH a lot less expensive.

      2. re: shanagain

        Hazelnuts in browned butter. Great over squash ravioli.

      3. I make two and I looked online but didn't see where I originally got it from. Many times I get an idea and then change things all around so these are my versions. One is more spice the other more savory

        About 10-12 oz pasta, I like spaghetti for this
        1/3 cup walnuts chopped fine
        2 tablespoons walnut oil
        3 tablespoons heavy cream
        3 tablespoons sour cream
        1/4 cup parmesan cheese
        1/8 cup fresh basil, rough chopped
        Salt and pepper to taste

        I toast the walnuts lightly in a dry skillet and then cool. Add all the ingredients to a small pot and heat, add the cheese and basil at the end. Boil the pasta and add the sauce to the pasta, I usually add a little extra vegetable oil for consistency and some extra pasta water. Add salt and pepper to taste
        OPTION: Some fresh arugula is also very good thrown in. It is a drier not creamy sauce but very good.

        This is different and more flavorful:

        1 cup walnuts roasted chopped fine
        1/4 cup olive oil
        2 tablespoons of walnut oil
        1/4 cup white wine
        1/4 cup heavy cream
        1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
        1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
        Salt and pepper to taste
        Favorite pasta

        Add everything to a small pot, and cook for 5-8 minutes until slightly reduced. Add to your favorite pasta and toss. I really like spinach with this one, Fresh baby spinach I lightly sauteed with the pasta the last 30 seconds. Then I top with gruyere cheese grated. Perfect pasta.

        A drizzle of walnut oil is great over both pastas.

        2 Replies
        1. re: kchurchill5

          those look EXCELLENT. can't wait to try. thanks for sharing!

        2. I've heard of making pasta from chestnuts (delicious btw), but never walnut pasta sauce. It made me EpiCurious.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Googs

            I've done pesto too, very good. I make pesto with walnuts, almonds, pine nuts and pecans even spinach, greens, herbs, lots of variations. Pesto is just a technique, the ingredients can widely vary

            Chestnuts would be good as well

          2. I like walnut halves broken in half sauteed with smashed garlic and torn basil leaves, in as much olive oil as you like. Add one small can anchovies and break up till melted, adding hot pasta cooking water. Add cooked spaghettini and toss.

            1. Water? What on earth is he using water for? Everything else, including the remarkable recipes already posted here, makes sense. I don't use anchovies very often but I do sometimes sprinkle capers on top when serving a pasta in pesto.

              5 Replies
              1. re: todao

                love capers, I could see that. Pesto is so foregiving that you can pretty much use anything. Water never. Broth, Stock or wine to cover the liguid end. Sherry or brandy would be a nice addition to me with rich walnuts.

                A walnut pesto with greens, sherry and a good cheese would be good too. Anchovies I am not sure of ... but haven't tried it so I can't say.

                1. re: todao

                  I can't vouch for this particular recipe, but my mom puts a little (just a little!) pasta water back into the pasta when she makes broccoli and pasta (broccoli, garlic, oil, pasta, butter--yum!).

                  1. re: kattyeyes

                    I use pasta water all the time to slightly thin. It works wonders

                    1. re: kchurchill5

                      There is a classic Ligurian walnut sauce used to top pansotti (herb-filled pasta), gnocchi, tortelloni or corzetti (round stamped pasta). It is usually made with walnuts, a little unflavored bread crumbs, garlic, salt, Parmigiano-Reggiano, minced fresh marjoram, some fresh ricotta, sometimes diluted with a little water or milk and some extra-virgin olive oil. Can be done in a mortar or food processor.

                      1. re: kchurchill5

                        Yep, there's even a video here that recommends using a small amount of the pasta water to put back in some of the starch lost in cooking, to get that smoothness to the sauce.

                  2. My husband does one that's simply walnuts, olive oil, garlic, bread crumbs, and a bit of parsley. I think it's a pretty traditional... Liguarian? (I probably even spelled that wrong) dish. Done right, it has a lovely creamy consistency with no cream (it's vegan, even.)

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: pamlet

                      pamlet that sounds beautiful. So does he just blitz this in the food chopper all together to get the correct consistancy? If you wouldn't mind, can you try to get a recipe from your DH so that I know the porportions?

                    2. I once made a Walnut blue cheese sauce for pasta which was quite tasty. I think the recipe came from either Bon Appetit or Gourmet.

                      1. A second thought- I bet Brown butter sauce with toasted walnuts would be good.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: salsailsa

                          Del Posto serves a pasta with walnuts that is out of this world. Walnuts are a wonder food and I'm trying to eat more of them. I've been using walnuts for crunch in everything from oatmeal to carrot and raisin salad.

                        2. I make a warm pasta salad with those corkscrew spirali pasta, arugula, roasted walnuts, goat cheese, grilled turkey breasts, sweetened cranberries, carmelized onions and a honey walnut sauce. A bit different because it is not a vinaigrette, but not a true sauce.

                          Quite tasty.

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: kchurchill5

                            kchurchchill5- That sounds delicious. Would you be more specific about the honey walnut sauce, please? TIA

                            Thanks, all, for the super suggestions.

                            1. re: efdee

                              sure not home, working but when I get home I will look it up. I have most of the ingredients but would rather be accurate. It really is a great recipe and simple. Like I said a salad dressing/ sauce combo. But I love it and it goes great.

                              I like to marinade my turkey just with herbs ... nothing fancy, olive oil, white wine or champagne vinegar and some good herbs. Then just grill and thin slice. I mix my slices right in with the salad. My friend who has duplicated my recipes for a dinner served hers on top. Either or and I mix the dressing with everything. Be home in about 2 hrs and will look up. and post for ya. I love the salad and please add your favorites. I always say I had what I have at home or what is in season. I think using seasonal fruits and vegetables are perfect. Apples, pears dried cranberries, anything works for me.

                              Be back soon.

                              1. re: kchurchill5

                                Walnut sauce: It is sort of a dressing but can easily be used on warm pasta and it thick so call it what you want.

                                3 teaspoons garlic minced
                                3 teaspoons dijon mustard
                                3 teaspoons of honey
                                2 tablespoon white wine vinegar
                                4 tablespoons heavy cream
                                1 teaspoon marscapone if you have it, if not extra cream will work the marscapone
                                makes it thicker, either or works
                                Pinch of sugar
                                Just shy of 1 teaspoon dried tarragon
                                5 tablespoons walnut oil
                                2 teaspoons vegetable oil or canola

                                Mix all together I like to use just a jar and shake well ... makes a great creamy dressing sauce. When added to the warm turkey and warm pasta, it makes it a warm sauce for me, the arugula will wilt slightly with the warm pasta, the nutty crunch of the walnuts roasted and just toasted in a pan, the cranberries, I like dried, just rehydrated, a bit sweeter and the carmelized onions are great. They don't have to be hot ... just warm. Actually I roasted mine, easier and just as good.

                                This is also good with sliced bosc pears too.
                                Thats the sauce. Pretty tasty. If you want you can add the walnuts to the sauce and toss that way but same result. I've also ground them and added to the sauce and then tossed with grilled romaine and fresh anjou slices which is heaven.

                          2. I've made this a few times and enjoyed it - Andrea Immer's Linguine with Walnuts and Arugula:

                            1. Mary Ann Esposito made this one with her Mom.

                              2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
                              3 cloves garlic, minced
                              1 cup walnut halves, coarsely chopped
                              1 cup packed parsley leaves, finely minced
                              1/2 teaspoon salt
                              Grinding coarse black pepper
                              Heat the olive oil in a saucepan and add the garlic. Cook over medium heat until the garlic softens. Stir in the walnuts and parsley and cook an additional 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

                              This sauce is enough to dress 1 pound of spaghetti or linguine.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: janetms383

                                That's simple and perfect janet. I'm in love with simple and perfect.

                              2. Lemon, parsely, caper and butter sauce made with white wine. I use it for chicken picatta. I actually love it more than than the chicken, and use a thin spaghetti or angel hair pasta.
                                or a light fresh tomato white wine scallion and basil sauce, the best
                                My walnut sauce has ricottal parm, nutmeg, olive oil walnuts, pine nuts a tad bit of marjoram- not sure if that is what you're looking for.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: chef chicklet

                                  chicklet -- that sounds like something *I* would be looking for. Would you mind posting? I still get raves on your hot garlicky artichoke dip! thanks for that, and in advance for this one! *foxy*

                                2. based on the label on some little jars i stocked up on when i lived in italy, i think the typical salsa di noci is just walnuts, extra virgin olive oil, parmiggiano, salt, and garlic...
                                  amazing with pumpkin ravioli or tagliatelle and some crumbles of gorgonzola piccante...

                                  1. This is a rich but fairly simple dish that we had last night, trying to use up some leftover odds and ends:

                                    Cook about 1/2 lb. diced bacon until crispy and remove from pan. Add about 1/3 cup coarsely chopped walnut and cook, stirring often, until lightly toasted and remove from pan. Remove excess bacon fat, leaving just enough to coat bottom of the pan. Add a small diced onion and cook until softened, and then add 3 to 4 cloves of minced garlic and cook until garlic is fragrant and softened, about two minutes. Sprinkle in some crushed red pepper flakes, salt and pepper, and deglaze the pan with 1/2 cup white wine. Add 1/2 cup chicken broth and reduce liquids by about 1/2. Add about six ounces of cleaned chopped fresh spinach. Cover pan and cook briefly to wilt spinach. Add about 1/3 cup heavy cream and heat through. Add a couple of generous handfuls of parmesan and taste sauce for seasoning. Add 3/4 lb. or so hot cooked spaghetti and toss over heat to coat with sauce. Add walnuts and bacon bites and toss to distribute evenly. Pass more parm at the table.

                                    I had planned to use up some blue cheese in the sauce, but I hadn't realized it was well past the expiration date. The pasta was tasty with the parm and I'd make it again as is, but I think I'd like it even more with blue cheese. I might also add a couple of plum tomatoes when I added the spinach.