Gnocchi/ Sauces and Dressings

Walnut Sauce – Salsa di Noci

September 4, 2019

Walnut Sauce AKA Salsa di Noci is the most understated Italian sauce there is. It may not look like much but it is like a flavour bomb in your mouth! Serve it with pasta or toss with light and pillowy gnocchi or a super simple comfort food meal!

An overhead shot of walnut sauce tossed with gnocchi

Salsa di Noci or walnut sauce is unbelievably delicious, I mean if you’re a fan of homemade pesto you will love this!

Although it’s not nearly as well known as basil pesto it’s just as addictive, like eat it by the spoonful addictive.

Better yet it’s made in a food processor and requires no cooking at all, really it’s SO quick and simple. Here’s what you need to make it;

  • Walnuts – an obvious one, you can’t have walnut sauce without walnuts!
  • White bread the secret ingredient to making this sauce thick and extra creamy!
  • Parmesan  & Garlic – simple ingredients that pack a punch of flavour and give this walnut sauce some serious umami kick!
  • Milk & olive oil – Adds creaminess and turns the mixture from a paste to a sauce.

An overhead shot of ingredients for making walnut sauce

How to Make Walnut Sauce (Salsa di Noci) – Step by Step

First, cut the crusts off the white bread then place in a bowl with the milk (photo 1 & 2).

Step by step photos for making walnut sauce

Put all other ingredients in a food processor then add the milk and bread (it only needs to soak for a few seconds), (photo 3).

Blitz everything together until thick but smooth. If the sauce is too thick then add a little more milk (photo 4).

If tossing with pasta or gnocchi reserve 1 cup (240ml) of pasta water.

Once you’ve drained the pasta add it back to the pot with the desired amount of walnut sauce and loosen it with pasta water as you toss it with the pasta ( you won’t need the whole cup).

Ways to Use Walnut Sauce from Pasta to Chicken

  • Toss with your favourite pasta long or short (this is how it’s traditionally served)
  • Toss with gnocchi (my favourite way to eat this)
  • This would be the perfect sauce to serve with our super popular mushroom ravioli!
  • It’s absolutely delicious with roast chicken
  • Keep it thick and spread it on crostini like you would any other pesto

Walnut sauce, salsa di noci in a rustic bowl

Can you Freeze this sauce?

Yes, you can freeze it in suitable containers, just make sure to thaw the sauce completely before using.

Since I prefer to eat this fresh (freezing things can dull the flavour) you can also half this recipe if you don’t need as much.

Top Tips for Making Walnut Sauce – Salsa di Noci

  • You can make this in advance and store it in the fridge covered in plastic wrap
  • If the sauce is too thick you can add more milk until you reach the desired consistency
  • If tossing with pasta or gnocchi make sure to reserve some pasta water to thin out the sauce, it adds a tonne of flavour and helps loosen the sauce without adding more milk.
  • I love to top pasta or gnocchi with extra chopped walnuts for extra crunch
  • For freshness top with fresh parsley

A close up of walnut sauce tossed with gnocchi on a fork

More Italian Recipes You Might Like;

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5 from 5 votes

Walnut Sauce - Salsa di Noci

Walnut Sauce AKA Salsa di Noci is the most understated Italian sauce there is. It may look not look like much but it is like a flavour bomb in your mouth! Serve it with pasta or toss with light and pillowy gnocchi or a super simple comfort food meal!
Course sauces and dressings
Cuisine Italian
Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Servings 6 servings
Calories 308kcal
Author Emily Kemp

Ingredients

  • 1.5 cups walnuts (150g)
  • ¾ cup milk (150ml)
  • 1 slice white bread
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 cup parmesan freshly grated (50g)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

Instructions

  • First, cut the crusts off the white bread then place in a bowl with the milk
  • Put all other ingredients in a food processor then add the milk and bread (it only needs to soak for a few seconds)
  • Blitz everything together until thick but smooth. If the sauce is too thick then add a little more milk
  • If tossing with pasta or gnocchi reserve 1 cup (240mof pasta water.
  • Once you've drained the pasta add it back to the pot with the desired amount of walnut sauce and loosen it with pasta water as you toss it with the pasta ( you won't need the whole cup).
  • Serve with extra topped walnuts if desired.

Notes

  • You can make this in advance and store it in the fridge covered in plastic wrap
  • If the sauce is too thick you can add more milk until you reach the desired consistency
  • If tossing with pasta or gnocchi make sure to reserve some pasta water to thin out the sauce, it adds a tonne of flavour and helps loosen the sauce without adding more milk.
  • I love to top pasta or gnocchi with extra chopped walnuts for extra crunch
  • For freshness top with fresh parsley

Nutrition

Calories: 308kcal | Carbohydrates: 8g | Protein: 12g | Fat: 27g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 14mg | Sodium: 301mg | Potassium: 185mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 180IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 271mg | Iron: 1mg
Helpful Info for All Recipes
  • I always use extra virgin olive oil in all of my recipes unless stated otherwise
  • When I use canned or jarred tomatoes of any kind I always use this brand for the best results and flavour
  • All vegetables are medium sized unless stated otherwise
  • All recipes are tested and developed using a fan oven
  • Find out more about how nutrition is calculated here
  • Check out our must have Italian Pantry Staples here
  • You can also find all our Essential Kitchen Tools for Italian Cooking here
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9 Comments

  • Reply
    Sara
    September 4, 2019 at 11:54 pm

    Who knew something that sounds so decadent would be so easy??5 stars

  • Reply
    Suzy
    September 4, 2019 at 11:35 pm

    I’ve had a walnut pesto before but never anything like this! I need to try it asap! I bet it taste heavenly!5 stars

  • Reply
    Sara Welch
    September 4, 2019 at 11:25 pm

    What an easy and savory meal! I know what I will be having for dinner tonight; yum!5 stars

  • Reply
    Marlynn | Urban Bliss Life
    September 4, 2019 at 11:18 pm

    I’m always looking for new sauces to try and this looks incredibly creamy and tasty!5 stars

  • Reply
    Genevieve
    September 4, 2019 at 11:15 pm

    This pasta looks so delicious!5 stars

  • Leave a Reply

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