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Walnut Sauce (Salsa di Noci)

It may not look like much, but don't let that fool you! One bite of this delicious Walnut Sauce (Salsa di Noci) and you'll be slathering it on everything from gnocci to roasted chicken! It's essentially a walnut paste, thinned with milk. I add a touch of Prescinseua to create a velvety texture, Parmiggiano Reggiano for a salty bite and garlic and fresh marjoram to round it out.
Salsa di Noci (Walnut sauce) originated in the Ligurian region of Italy. It is used to dress all types of gnocchi, pansotti (an herb filled stuffed pasta), tortellini, or truly, anything you like. Traditional recipes do not call for toasting the nuts, but I find it adds to the deep nutty flavor and enhances the sauce.
Note: The ricotta and Greek yogurt mixture is a substitute for a regional Italian cheese called Prescinsuea which is not exported because it is highly perishable. I substitute a mixture of ricotta cheese for texture and Greek yogurt for tang and I find it works well. If you live in the US and are lucky enough to find the real deal, use 1/2 cup instead of the substitute (and then message me and let me know where I can find it)!
A couple of tips:
If you are using this sauce to coat pasta or gnocchi, save about one cup of pasta water. Drain the pasta, put it back in the pot and add the walnut sauce. Use the reserved pasta water to loosen the sauce to desired consistency.
As long as you like marjoram, don't skimp. It gives the sauce a delicious herby punch. For an extra burst of flavor, sprinkle chopped marjoram over the top before serving.
This sauce can be stored in the refrigerator or freezer in an air tight container. If you choose to freeze the sauce, thaw to room temperature before using.
Course: Sauces, Spreads, Condiments


  • 2 cups shelled walnuts
  • 2 tbspns pine nuts
  • 1 slice white bread soaked in milk and squeezed dry
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/4 tspn salt
  • 3/4 cup Parmiggiano Reggiano
  • 3/4 cup Prescinsuea or 1/4 cup Greek yogurt, 1/4 cup ricotta)
  • 4 tbspns extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 heaping tbspn minced fresh marjoram
  • 1/2 cup milk


  • Preheat oven to 320 degrees and toast the walnuts and pine nuts for about 10 minutes, or until they are warm and fragrant.
  • Place the bread in the milk and let it soak for a couple of minutes.
  • Squeeze out the excess milk and add the bread to the food processor, along with the walnuts, pine nuts, garlic, salt.
  • Blend until it forms a paste.
  • Add milk, Parmiggiano-Reggiano, the ricotta, Greek yogurt, marjoram and olive oil, and pulse until well combined.