Ligurians dress their pansotti (herb-stuffed ravioli) with this creamy walnut sauce. It is however also excellent daubed over spaghetti, ribbed penne, mafalde or linguine (or any other pasta type that "grabs" the condiment).
Traditionally salsa di noci was called tocco de nux and prepared with walnuts harvested during the autumn months. To make your own nutty concoction, assemble:
150 g (3/4 cups) husked walnut meats (you can blanch them to make peeling easier)
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
1 pinch of dried marjoram
100 g (1/2 cup) fresh ricotta cheese
Salt and pepper
Using a mortar and pestle (or thrown in a blender), reduce the walnuts, garlic, marjoram and a pinch of salt to a fine powder, diluting with a thread of olive oil. Work in the ricotta with a fork, and blend well.
Use 2-3 tablespoons of the obtained sauce to dress your pasta. Always remember to save a small amount of starchy pasta cooking water for a creamier effect.
The completed dish can be dusted with finely grated Parmigiano Reggiano, a spin of the pepper mill, and garnished with a fistful of coarsley ground walnut meats. Serve lava-like hot in contrast with the chilled bottle of stand-by white wine...
Note: For those who have trouble with garlic, in this dish, it can be substituted with less pungent chives.