Pasta with Walnut Sauce

A rich, bread-thickened nut sauce that’s unbelievable with stuffed pasta.–Mark Bittman

LC No Dairy, No Problem Note

Author Mark Bittman notes that you can make a nondairy version of this sauce. Simply use about 1/2 cup bread crumbs, nondairy milk, and omit the Parmesan. Or so he says. You tell us.

Pasta with Walnut Sauce Recipe

  • Quick Glance
  • 20 M
  • 30 M
  • Makes about 4 servings


  • Salt
  • 1 thick slice Italian bread
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 cup walnut halves (or substitute pecans)
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
  • 2 teaspoons fresh marjoram leaves, or 1/2 teaspoon dried
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 pound dried, fresh, or stuffed pasta


  • 1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Place the bread in a small bowl, cover it with milk, and let it soak.
  • 2. Combine the nuts, garlic, cheese, and marjoram in a food processor and, with the machine running, slowly add the oil in a steady stream, adding just enough oil so that the mixture forms a very thick paste. Now add the bread-and-milk mixture and enough water to make a sorta saucy mixture. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • 3. Cook the pasta until tender. Drain the pasta, reserving some of the cooking water. Toss the pasta with the sauce and, if the mixture appears too thick, thin it with a little of the pasta cooking water or more olive oil. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Pass more Parmesan on the side.

Sauce Variations

  • Pasta with Walnut-Tomato Sauce
  • The acidity in the tomatoes lightens the sauce a bit. Add 1 medium tomato, peeled, seeded, and roughly chopped, or 1/2 cup chopped canned tomato, with the nuts in step 1.
  • Pasta with Rich Walnut Sauce
  • Blend 3 to 4 tablespoons mascarpone, cream cheese, or heavy cream with the nuts in step 1.
Hungry for more? Chow down on these:

Hey, there. Just a reminder that all our content is copyright protected. Like a photo? Please don't use it without our written permission. Like a recipe? Kindly contact the publisher listed above for permission before you post it (that's what we did) and rewrite it in your own words. That's the law, kids. And don't forget to link back to this page, where you found it. Thanks!

Back to Pasta with Walnut Sauce on Leite's Culinaria