Walnut cream pasta sauce is a delicious condiment that turns a simple pasta dish into a delightful foodie experience. This creamy walnut sauce has a very delicate flavour and a perfect texture to coat your favourite pasta. Make this creamy walnut sauce when you want to treat your guests to an Italian recipe that is not as common as other pasta dishes but no less amazing.
Any time I want to impress my guests or just treat myself to a good meal I’ll pull a recipe from the Italian tradition. More than often, most Italian dishes are easier to make than it may seem, given their reputation as fancy. Walnut cream pasta sauce falls into the unexpectedly simple recipes category. Served, it may look like the fanciest sauce ever. Truth is, making this creamy walnut sauce is actually pretty easy and requires only a bunch of ingredients that are also pretty accessible.
Walnuts are quite an important item of the Mediterranean culinary tradition. Pairing walnuts with starchy foods is, in fact, quite a nice combo. Think bread with walnut bits, or focaccia with caramelized walnuts. Unsurprisingly, walnuts work great with pasta, too. Walnut sauce is a pretty common condiment in Italy, mostly used in pasta dishes. You can even sub the bolognese sauce for walnut sauce and make a wonderful vegetarian lasagna.
Creamy walnut pasta sauce recipe tips
Walnut sauce for pasta is a pretty simple recipe that requires just a few ingredients and little effort. The ingredients for this creamy pasta sauce are:
- 60 g walnuts
- 1 small shallot
- 200 ml cream (15% fat or higher)
- 20 g butter
- 1/3 tsp salt
- pepper to taste
Let me let you in on a little secret. There is one tip to this pasta sauce recipe that will really make you walnut cream sauce stand out. That secret is peeling the walnuts. Now the choice is yours as if you choose to skip this step you’ll still end up with a fantastic pasta sauce. But if you’re in for a little extra, then I suggest you’d consider taking the time to peel your walnuts. It does take time, but your efforts will pay off.
Why peel the walnuts
Removing the skins from the walnuts has two major effects. One is that walnut skins are slightly bitter, and by taking those away the walnut sauce will be more delicate in taste. The other effect is on the texture of the sauce. Regardless of the kind of blender you use, unpeeled walnuts will yield a sauce that is not as smooth as if made with peeled walnuts. Is not peeling the walnuts going to ruin my sauce? Absolutely not! We commonly eat walnuts with skins and we’re generally used to the slightly bitter taste that the skins have. Walnut sauce made with unpeeled walnuts is still a delicious pasta sauce. It’s just that the use of peeled walnuts will just make a delicious sauce taste even better.
So if you really want to take your walnut cream sauce to the next level or if it’s perfect smoothness that you’re after, I would take into consideration taking the time to peel the walnuts. The easiest way to do so is by bringing a small pot of water to the boil and throwing in the walnuts when it reaches boiling temperature. Simmer the walnuts for a couple of minutes in boiling water, drain, rinse and dry. This procedure will make it much easier to take the walnut skins off. Peeling the waluts can take some time; budget about one hour to prep the 60 g of walnuts you need for this recipe. In my opinion it’s well worth it, but make your choice and read on for the full recipe.
Walnut cream pasta sauce recipe method
Melt 10 g of butter in a frying pan on medium heat. Mince the shallot and add it to the butter. Sear for a few minutes on medium-high heat until the onion softens. Add the chopped walnuts (better if peeled, but this is optional – read above. For the sauce in these photos I used peeled walnuts), the salt and pepper and the rest of the butter. When the butter has melted, add the cream. Keep this mixture on medium heat, stirring constantly and simmer for a couple more minutes.
Turn off the heat and transfer the content of the pan into a tall container. Blend until smooth. This sauce can be stored for later, or used immediately. It will thicken as it cools, so if not used immediately you can thin it with a tablespoon of either cream or milk. Alternatively you can save some cooking water from the pasta. A nice great addition is some freshly grated Parmigiano as a final touch.
While this sauce goes well with any pasta, I would recommend using a short type like the mezze maniche rigate featured in this post. This nut sauce can be adapted to suit special dietary requirements. Sub the butter and cream for their lactose or dairy free alternatives and skip the optional Parmigiano flakes to make it vegan.
Wanna make your own pasta? Here’s my fresh egg pasta recipe.
Creamy walnut pasta sauce
Pasta with walnut sauce is a delicious pasta dish that is creamy, flavourful and authentic. Walnut sauce pasta is a dish from northern Italy. Often paired with cheese, this is a simple creamy version.
- 500 g pasta of choice
- 60 g walnuts peeled for best results
- 1 shallot
- 240 ml cream
- 20 g butter
- 1/3 tsp salt
- pepper to taste
- 4 tbsp parmesan grated
To peel the walnuts. Bring a small pot of water to a boil. When the water boils, add the walnuts and simmer for a couple of minutes. Drain and place on a kitchen towel to dry and cool. When cold enough to handle, remove the skins by rubbing the walnuts between your fingers. This procedure adds about one extra hour to the recipe and can be done in advance. If doing this in advance, store the peeled walnuts in an airtight container in the fridge.
Prepare the pasta. Set a pot of water on medium-high heat. When it boils, add salt and the pasta. Cook the pasta in boiling water according to package instructions. I recommend to stick to the suggested cooking time for a perfect Italian al dente texture.
Prepare the sauce. Melt half of the butter in a pan on medium heat. Mince the shallot and add it to the butter. Sauté until soft, 2 minutes.
Add the walnuts, salt, pepper and the rest of the butter. Sauté 1 minute, let the butter melt. Next pour in the cream. Simmer the sauce on medium heat 2 minutes, stirring constantly.
Transfer the sauce to a food processor and blend until smooth. Alternatively, you can blend it with a hand blender.
When the pasta is done cooking, drain it and put it back into the cooking pan. Pour the sauce over the cooked pasta and toss. Divide pasta between serving bowls and top with grated parmesan.
This sauce is ready to use immediately. If you want to use it later, store it refrigerated for up to a week. Be aware that the sauce will thicken as it cools.