Pasta with Walnut Sauce

Total Time:
20 min
Prep:
5 min
Cook:
15 min

Yield:
8 to 10 servings
Level:
Easy

Ingredients
  • 6 ounces shelled walnuts
  • 1/2 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 slice bread, crusts removed
  • 2/3 cup whole milk
  • 1 ounce grated Parmesan, plus more for garnish
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons olive oil (preferably Ligurian)
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 pounds any flat short pasta
  • 1/2 cup chopped Italian parsley, for garnish
Directions

Put a large saucepan of water on to boil, and toast the walnuts in a dry frying pan until they begin to make a nutty aroma. Put the bread in a bowl and cover with the milk. Put most of the toasted walnuts (reserving about 1 ounce for garnish) into a blender along with the garlic, bread soaked in milk, and Parmesan. Blend until it turns smooth and creamy, then pour in the oil and season well with salt and pepper before blending again.

Pour into a bowl, and set aside.

Add pasta to boiling water with salt and cook for the required amount of time. When pasta is al dente, reserve a cup of the pasta cooking liquid and then drain the pasta, but put it in to a large bowl while it's still dripping slightly with water. Sprinkle a little olive oil over the pasta to prevent it sticking together, and then add the walnut sauce, mixing it into the pasta (splash in a little pasta cooking liquid to make the sauce less thick if needed).

Roughly chop the remaining walnuts and toss them over the top along with some more Parmesan and the chopped parsley.


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    This recipe is heaven sent for vegetarians like me......
    I tried this sauce in Italy a few years ago and loved it. I made some squash gnocchi but was torn between noce sauce and alfredo. I ended up mixing this recipe with an alfredo recipe(see link below). On this one I left out the bread, and on the alfredo I substituted one cup of the heavy cream for milk and only added 1/4 C. butter so it wouldn't be too rich with the nuts. It actually turned out really well and was exactly what I was craving. I would suggest doing this if you are worried about it coming out too nutty.
    Always wanted to make this intriguing dish when I saw it on Nigella Bites. I made it for dinner tonight and found it to be a very unique dish, and a nice change from other pasta sauces. I made some alterations by using 2 cloves of garlic, and adding some fresh mint and parsley as well as a little lemon zest to the mix when blending. I would equate the walnut flavour almost to tahini, that was how "earthy" it became.
     

     
    If bread or milk bothers you because of food intolerences, I would suggest using a whole fresh zucchini/courgette in the mix instead of the milk-soaked bread, and use gluten-free pasta. The zucchini will give the same creaminess. Great Vegetarian dish. JACY:)
    Adjust the garlic to taste (a full clove was right for this garlic-loving family). But in any case, a simple and tasty recipe. Terrific!
    I felt the flavors were a bit dull and muddy so I added:
     

     
    - juice of half a lemon
     
    - fresh basil leaves
     
    - cayenne powder to taste
     

     
    I also lightly cookd the garlic in the olive oil, then dumped the oil and garlic in with the walnuts, bread, etc. Gives it a flavor kick!
     

     
    The first attempt with this recipe proved disappointing; the combination of the walnuts and the wheat pasta we used resulted in a heavy dish with a woody flavor.
     
    My recommendation is to use "regular" pasta and try adding Italian-herb seasoned croutons instead of bread to create a more flavorful sauce.
    Wonderful dish -- (not sure why other reviwers are expecting an Alfredo when it is clearly not)-- simple and satisfying. Alfredo lovers can easily rework this dish...but that means more "work". This recipe is good for a side or appetizer as well. Boiling pasta and pouring over a very creative and healthy blender sauce coudn't be easier.
    love this recipe. unusual. easy
    i made this the other day for lunch because it looked very easy to make. I eas disappointed with the results. I didnt like the flavors. I will not make this again, but i still love Nigella.
    I was quite looking forward to this dish, as I love walnuts and parmesan and garlic and with those flavors together over pasta, well, yum! Unfortunately, this sauce lacks zest and at best could be called bland. No one in my family would eat it...When it comes to creamy pasta sauces it's better to go hog wild and keep the real cream and butter and just eat smaller portions, rather than trying to make a low-cal pasta which does nothing for the pallate! Where's the alfredo?
    OK, wow this was good. This recipe will fool anyone who hates nuts. Nutty, creamy, garlicky and DELICIOUS!!!!
    This pasta is so satisfyingly creamy similar to alfredo sauce but healthier! I advice to eat it immediately though while it is warm and creamier! nice~
    This pasta was succulent and delicious. It was hard to tell that the sauce was made with walnuts and nobody could guess that the creaminess came from the bread! This was a great recipe!
    I made this for about 10 people as a side dish and couldn't believe how easy and delicious it was. Had a great creamy rich flavor without all the fat of alfredo sauces (I didn't need to add any more that about 2 tbs. of olive oil) and I just adjusted the thickness of the sauce with the pasta water. I'll make this again and perhaps add some roasted chicken.
    This was a real treat. I did not tell my husband or son what this was. When the tasted it they both thought it was wonderful. A real lovely change,
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