Venerable, Illustrious, greatly admired group.
Can somebody point me to a spectacular, unforgetable walnut sauce?
I don't know whether this is what you're looking for, but I make this Walnut Pesto all the time and find it to be absolutely wonderful.
Sometimes I add a bit more sherry vinegar and chicken broth to thin it out so it easily coats ravioli or veggies. I love it on a bowl full of sauteed hearty greens too.
I copied it from the Smitten Kitchen blog. Kudos to this blogger and whomever is the developer-
Walnut Pesto Crostini
Adapted slightly from Jody Williams at Gottino in the West Village
Makes a dozen or so toasts
1 cup shelled walnuts, even better if you toast and cool them first
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 small garlic clove, peeled and crushed
3 sprigs of thyme, cleaned
Small splash of sherry vinegar (I used a generous splash and felt it dominated too much; go easy)
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons minced sun-dried tomatoes (oil or dry-packed will both work)
1 loaf country bread, or a baguette, sliced
In food processor, coarsely grind walnuts, cheese, garlic, thyme, salt and vinegar. Stir in oil and tomatoes.
Grill or toast bread. While hot, top each slice with a heaping teaspoon of pesto.
How are you planning on using the sauce? Without knowing culinary direction, it is hard to say, as so many different ways to go. I have used this recipe in the past with good feedback. An example of how it was used:
Grilled Portobello Cap, a Portobello Mushroom cap grilled, topped with oven roasted Cauliflower, Sun Dried Tomatoes, Ricotta Cheese, and Garlic Breadcrumbs; and served with a toasted Walnut Sauce
Weight or Volume Ingredients
¾ cup walnuts, toasted
1 clove garlic, minced, sauteed
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup vegie stock, boiling
Combine walnuts, garlic, and salt in processor and with machine running slowly add the oil. Adjust consistency with stock.
Thanks cheflayne. It's for ricotta ravioli. Filling: ricotta, egg yolk, grated parmesan, black pepper, nutmeg,
Why to toast the walnuts?
I toasted the walnuts in this particular application strictly because I liked the flavor profile toasted better than untoasted. I feel it intensifies the flavor a bit, the same reason that I frequently toast whole spices before grinding. Also for your use you can certainly use chicken stock or cream in place of the vegie stock; and you would probably want to add a touch more liquid ( be it stock or cream) to serve with ravioli.
I see. Also, some recipes ask for grated bread. Why? Isn't a butter sauce more appropriate than an olive oil sauce? I mean, not to overpower the subtle ricotta filling.
I'm trying to refine an idea here. I want a sauce, delicate, with no visual traces of walnuts but that taste intensely walnuts. It should be something like a surprise. No walnuts in the filling, and suddenly, it's walnuts in your mouth. In my limited imagination, i suspect it needs a lot of walnuts. Walnuts oil?
This is a Mexican, walnut-cream sauce of the type used for chiles en nogados. Chiles en nogados is a traditional dish for Mexico's Independence Day (Sept. 14) and there are recipes for it all over the web in English and Spanish.
Salsa de Nogada
[Note: This recipe requires a longish soaking period.]
Set a pan on the stove with about 1qt water. Bring it to the boil.
Meanwhile crack the walnuts and remove them from their shells, taking off as much of the paper hulls as possible.
Dump the walnuts in the water, and boil them for 1 minute to loosen the remaining paper. Remove the nuts from the water, drain them and set them on a paper towel to further dry. As soon as the nuts are cool enough to handle remove as much remaining paper as possible.
Set the walnuts in bowl, cover them with 1-1/2 cups milk, and leave them to soften in the refrigerator for at least two hours or as long as overnight.
Drain the nuts, and discard the old milk.
Place the nuts, 1/2 cup of the remaining milk, and the rest of the ingredients in a blender. Puree until very smooth. The consistency should be almost custard-like, yet still pourable. If the sauce is too stiff, thin it with a little more milk or (preferably) cream. If too thick, stiffen with a bit more bread.
Taste, and adjust for salt. You may want to sieve this sauce, but it's not traditional.
PS. If you've done a good job or removing the hulls, the sauce will be quite white. The traditional garnish is pomegranate seeds and chopped parsley, which along with the sauce, recreate the colors of the Mexican flag. Since red, white and green are also the colors of the Italian flag, it would work perfectly for your ravioli.
PPS. Absolutely not toasted. Toasted bread is not a good soup or sauce thickener.
Bring some cream to a boil, pour over walnuts, let steep 1/2 hour, puree in blender, strain through fine mesh making sure to press as firmly as possi8ble to extract as much liquid as possibly, reduce walnut flavored cream to level desired to instensify flavor, make sauce from there, lots of way to go with it, can suggest some later but have to run to work now
Ah... That seems an amazing sauce BDL. Thanks! A keeper. I robbed it into my computer.
As it's too complex for lunch, today i'm going simpler. Will use half toasted, half un-toasted nuts. A lot. 100 grams for 5 ravioli. butter, cream and may be a roasted garlic. I will infuse the hot cream with the walnuts first. Lets see how it comes. Any new idea welcome.
Ordo, walnut sauce is often found in Italian cooking.
This one is quite easy to make and delicious! All credits to "The Foods of Italy", I have the dutch edition but here's the english one. This book is a true must have for basic Italian cooking.
The recipe in the book is "Tagliatelle with walnut sauce";
200g walnuts, peeled - 20g parcely - 50 g butter - 2 dl extra virgin olive oil - 1 clove of garlic, pressed - 30g parmesan, grated - 1 dl cream - 400 g pasta, tagliatelle
Roast the peeled walnuts slightly for 2 minutes in a dry pan. Set aside to cool.
In a foodprocessor; chop wallnuts and parcely finely. Add butter and mix. Slowly and very gently pour olive oil in while machine is working. Add garlic, parmesan and cream. s&p.
Boil pasta and when done and drained, fold pasta into the sauce.
-- There's also a similar recipe in Giorgio Locatelli's book "Made in Italy", but he recommends to make or buy a good walnutpaste (= peeled walnuts, garlic and olive oil), available in Italian specialty stores.
Both recipes call for peeled walnuts; put in an oven @ 170°C for 4-5 minutes and rub in a kitchen towel while the nuts are still warm.
Great ideas. Thanks Chris. Well. The ravioli are ready (cheating here, using wonton dough, which is great but of course lack the extreme delicacy of home made pasta).
food is like love...it should be entered into with abandon or not at all Harriet Van Horne
food is like love...it should be entered into with abandon or not at all Harriet Van Horne
Now that's a new concept indeed. It's sweet, i guess, but could add something extraordinary to the sauce.
I'm ending the raviolis now (cheflayne idea). Will post the result.
Unpeeled walnuts can irritate the back of your throat, I would guess that's the only reason why it's in those recipes. To be honest, I never ever peel them but some people may complain about a soar throat.
BTW, I used wonton leaves a few times to make ravioli. They're fantastic, just a bit tricky to work with because they tear so easily. I love when you can see the ingredients through this dough when they are cooked. I could never roll such thin pastry. What did you put in the filling? Can't wait to see your pictures.
Very nice Ordo! I can imagine the dish tastes fantastic.
I wonder what your thoughts would be on trying a more classic (read french) approach of making such a sauce; sweating a chopped shallot in butter, add a clove of garlic -very finely chopped- a little later, add a dash of dry white wine and let reduce until the alcohol is completely burnt off, add a little chickenstock, let reduce, add cream and let thicken. Add finely chopped slightly toasted walnuts at the very end, not only for taste but also to provide an extra crunchy texture in the dish.
It seems a good idea because I notice in your last picture that the fat is slightly separating from the sauce. I had the same thing using the first recipe I posted. Most probably the fat separates because the fat content of the sauce is very high. And indeed, I would guess that a dash of white wine may lower the fat content to keep the sauce more stable.
I've been craving walnut pesto ever since I read this thread yesterday. I'm leaning towards foodnfoto's pesto with sundried tomatoes yum!
How does one peel dry walnuts?
I second the walnut pesto as well...although I know that's not what the OP is interested in.
I made this WP a couple years ago with linguini, and it was very good.
I'm intrigued by a walnut sauce for the ravioli, Ordo. Sounds very good.
Thanks ordo, hadn't seen that part.
As if I'd waste a fresh walnut in a sauce, ha!
Well, i just tried the boiling method to peel the walnuts and it's hell. No way. A universal aporia. Impossible task.