Salsa di Noci


A local chef in Cinque Terre prepared this salsa di noci (walnut sauce) dish for us using the herbs we'd picked only moments before. Fifteen years after trying the dish for the first time, we still make it at home often.

Prep Time:
10 mins
Cook Time:
15 mins
Total Time:
25 mins


  • 3 cups water, or as needed

  • 1 ½ cups walnuts

  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled

  • 1 pinch sea salt

  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh marjoram

  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme

  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano

  • ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil

  • ¾ cup heavy cream

  • 1 cup finely grated Pecorino Romano cheese

  • freshly ground black pepper to taste

  • sea salt to taste

  • 1 (16 ounce) box dry fettuccine pasta

  • ½ bunch fresh chives, finely chopped


  1. Bring water to a boil in a small saucepan. Add walnuts and cook until they have softened slightly, about 5 minutes. Drain and set aside.

  2. Combine garlic and pinch sea salt in the bowl of a mortar and pestle. Grind to create a thick paste. Add walnuts, marjoram, thyme, and oregano. Grind until combined and slightly creamy, but still coarse.

  3. Transfer the walnut mixture to a large bowl. Slowly whisk in olive oil to form a thick emulsion. Add heavy cream and Pecorino Romano cheese and whisk until combined. Season with black pepper and sea salt to taste.

  4. Fill a large pot with lightly salted water and bring to a rolling boil. Stir in fettuccine, return to a boil, and cook pasta over medium heat until cooked through but still firm to the bite, about 8 minutes. Drain.

  5. Toss walnut sauce with pasta. Garnish with fresh chives.

Cook's Note:

If you do not have a mortar and pestle, you may use a food processor instead.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

1066 Calories
72g Fat
90g Carbs
22g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 4
Calories 1066
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 72g 92%
Saturated Fat 17g 86%
Cholesterol 61mg 20%
Sodium 190mg 8%
Total Carbohydrate 90g 33%
Dietary Fiber 7g 24%
Total Sugars 5g
Protein 22g
Vitamin C 10mg 51%
Calcium 115mg 9%
Iron 7mg 37%
Potassium 469mg 10%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

** Nutrient information is not available for all ingredients. Amount is based on available nutrient data.

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a medically restrictive diet, please consult your doctor or registered dietitian before preparing this recipe for personal consumption.

You’ll Also Love