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Walnut Sauce {Salsa Di Noci}

Walnut sauce or Salsa di Noci is one of the staples of Ligurian cuisine.

It’s not as popular outside of Italy as say Basil Pesto alla Genovese but it’ll definitely become one of your favorites once you try it.

Rich nutty flavor that comes from the walnuts, creaminess from pinenuts, a subtle tang from garlic and Parmesan cheese all smoothed out by milk soaked bread.

Marjoram herb is optional but to me it sets just a perfect accent on the rest of flavors in this sauce.

You can also regulate texture by adding more milk if you preffer a thinner sauce. Just keep in mind that once you add it to hot pasta combined with a drizzle of pasta cooking liquid it’ll “melt” and coat it to perfection.

Walnut Sauce - Salsa Di Noci - Ligurian Recipe

Now, I realize that I’d hardly find anyone these days willing work with mortar and pestle and make this walnut sauce by hand, but if you’re one of those devoted old-schoolers or want to experiment you certainly CAN.

In the meantime I’ll go with my food processor 😉

Full Recipe

Walnut Sauce

Walnut Sauce {Salsa Di Noci}

Walnut sauce or Salsa di noci is one of the staples of Ligurian cuisine.
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Prep Time5 minutes
Course: Pesto, Sauces
Cuisine: Italian
Servings: 8


  • 1 hipping cup (4 oz) shelled walnuts
  • 2 tbsp pine nuts
  • 2 slices (1 oz) white bread
  • ½ cup milk (more if needed)
  • cup Parmesan cheese , grated
  • 2-3 tbsp Extra virgin olive oil
  • 2-3 pinches marjoram herb
  • 1 small garlic clove , center removed
  • Salt to taste


  • Soak bread in milk.
  • In a food processor add all ingredients and soaked bread squeezed dry. Reserve the milk.
  • Blend all ingredients for a few minutes until well combined, add milk. Blend again until smooth.
  • Taste for salt and texture. Add more milk if needed.
  • Run a spatula alongside the bowl.
  • Give the sauce another quick pulse and you are done!
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How to use Walnut Sauce

Walnut sauce works really well as spread for crostini, paired with chicken or turkey meat and even as a sauce for veggies.

But of course, the most famous and arguably most delicious way is to pair it with pasta.

In fact, classic ligurian use for walnut sauce is with pansoti – typical Ligurian fresh pasta stuffed with ricotta cheese, swiss chard and local herbs.

I often make it with potato gnocchi.

And if you’ve made some in advance and still have some in the freezer you can whip up the whole meal in 20 minutes at most.

Walnut Sauce

Now your turn 🙂

Do you use food processor or prefer a classic mortar and pestle?

And of course, let me know YOUR favorite use of walnuts sauce!

Buon Appetito!

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