Salsa di Noci (walnut sauce) pasta
I discovered this delicious vegetarian dish while travelling through Northern Italy in the summertime, but it also makes the perfect winter-warming family supper as the nights get colder. Traditionally, Salsa di Noci (walnut sauce) pasta is made with thick cream, but I prefer the lighter taste and wellbeing benefits of using a little less cream and healthier creamy plain yoghurt instead. Walnuts are a fantastic source of omega-3 fatty acids and contain lots of antioxidants to help boost heart health, so they are great to try and incorporate into your diet as and when you can. This dish is a real family favourite and is loved by my whole family – from the youngest toddler to Nonna (grandma!).
Walnuts are a fantastic source of omega-3 fatty acids and contain lots of antioxidants to help boost heart health
- 100g chopped walnuts
- 2 cloves garlic
- 30g butter
- 20g Parmesan (or vegetarian hard cheese), finely grated
- 2 tbsp creamy plain yoghurt
- 100g organic single cream
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- Pasta, as required (ribbon pasta (linguine or tagliatelle) or twists that soak up the sauce (fusilli or campanelle) work best)
- Extra freshly grated Parmesan to sprinkle
- Finely chop the walnuts into small pieces (or whizz in a food processor), reserving half a walnut per person for garnish (optional).
- Peel the garlic cloves and split in half, removing the indigestible inner greenish stalk, then crush and chop/press into a fine mush.
- Melt the butter in a small saucepan and gently sauté the crushed garlic, taking great care not to burn. Stir constantly and watch like a hawk as both the butter and the garlic can quickly turn brown and burn. The idea is just to soften the garlic and lightly cook.
- Remove from the heat and stir in half the grated Parmesan cheese (10g), smoothing out any lumps. Pour over the chopped walnuts. Season with freshly ground black pepper (the Parmesan should provide sufficient salt). Stir in the remaining Parmesan, yoghurt, cream and olive oil.
- Cook the pasta, drain and return to the saucepan. Mix the sauce into the pasta and serve immediately in warmed pasta bowls topped with a little more freshly grated Parmesan.