Family Recipe: Salsa di Noci (Walnut Sauce)

Submitted by Angela of the Della Torre Family.

Who taught you this recipe?

I first ate pasta alle noci while studying in Florence as a college student. My sister, who had studied in Florence several years earlier, told me about a place that served it (it was her favorite dish). Soon, it became my favorite dish as well. Together, my sister and I tracked down a recipe. Then we tweaked it to match what we remember.

What is your favorite memory of making this recipe?

The first Christmas Eve I made it with my sister and mother. It was the first time the sauce came out just as we remembered it from a decade before. We’ve made it every Christmas Eve since.

Christmas Eve is my favorite day of the year. Our whole family comes to my mother’s house and we cook all day before eating together and exchanging gifts. Pasta alle noci felt like a great, cozy wintery dish to make. To me, it is Italian comfort food.


6 oz of walnuts

2 garlic cloves

2 slices of white bread

Milk (for soaking and to thin out the sauce)

3 tbsp of olive oil

Salt to taste

Cooking Instructions:

Soak the bread (crusts removed) in milk. Use just enough milk to wet the bread but not drench it.

Place the bread in a food processor. Add the walnuts and garlic. Puree.

Add some salt and the 3 tablespoons of olive oil to the mixture. Then add a little more milk. Puree again (the consistency should be creamy).

Pour the sauce over hot penne or tagliatelle and mix together.

Sprinkle some Parmesan cheese and toasted walnuts on top of the pasta. Serve immediately.

Note: This sauce also works well with cheese ravioli.

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