Walnuts sauce

 

This is a traditional sauce from the Ligurian province of Genova, where it is used as a dressing in several dishes – most notably Pansotti alla salsa di noci. It is also a disappearing delicacy, as the industrial processes used in the making its store-bought version don’t remove the bitter peel of the walnut kernels, giving it a much different taste. Also, some traditional ingredients are rather hard to get by outside of local small villages. The solution is to make your own walnuts sauce using the best possible approximations for the original ingredients – and we are very happy to report that the result perfectly emulates the real thing, with one tenth of the trouble.

 

Ingredients (5 persons)

 

* 100 grams of young walnut kernels
* 100 grams of robiola cheese (see below for the alternatives)
* 1 small white garlic clove
* 2 hamburger buns (Mc’D size)
* ¼ liter fresh cream

 

Preparation

 

The reason not many people prepare this sauce at home is all in the kernels preparation, which is pretty time consuming. Ideally, you want to use fresh walnuts (not the usual dried variety), identifiable by their soft kernels and finger-staining peels. Using dried walnuts will give a stronger flavor to your sauce. Begin by peeling the kernels: placing them over the steam from a boiling water pot for a few seconds immediately before peeling will help you immensely. Next remove the outer crust from the buns and crumble the sweeter guts of the bread. Peel the garlic clove and finely chop it, removing the inner part of the bulb if it is too strong smelling or not as white as the outer part. Put the crumbs, the garlic  and the walnuts in a blender with the robiola cheese. If you can’t find it you can substitute it with an equal parts mix of stracchino and quark cheeses, or ¾ quark and ¼ soft goat cheese. Blend it for a little while, then add the cream and continue blending until all the chunks are gone.

 

Use

 

On pasta (ideally of the Trenette variety), as vegetables-stuffed pasta dressing, on warm bread (ideally Testaieu or Tigelle, but you’ll be forgiven to use it on pita bread).