There are a lot of recipes to celebrate Saint’s days. In Florence, June 24th is Saint John the Baptist, San Giovanni, is the patron Saint and there are parades, a historic soccer game and fireworks.
In the countryside people gather the green walnuts to make Nocino, which I have written about several times as I adore it.
This year though I have enough infusions to last me a few years. Last year I made my friend Kate’s Vin de Noix, a French aperitif, which is lovely in summer.
I really don’t see walnuts used much in cooking in the Italian-American kitchen. But here, nuts and fruit are almost always present at the end of the meal on the table, instead of dessert. Nuts are called dry fruit, frutta secca.
But here in Tuscany, walnuts are used often in sweets and one of my favorite recipes is a walnut sauce for pasta.
This salsa di noci is similar to a Turkish recipe I have had on Circassian Chicken.
It is simple to make and also good just spread on bread for an appetizer.
Mostly I serve it with my Ravioli Gnudi, naked ravioli or farther south it is also used on pici, the thick hand-rolled pasta or the Ligurian Corzetti.
Near the sea, I have had a similar recipe with marjoram added and a splash of white wine to thin, served on corzetti pasta.
- 6 oz. walnuts
- 2 garlic cloves
- 2 slices white bread
- 3 Tbs. olive oil
- Remove crusts from bread and soak in a little milk, just enough to wet the bread.
- Place in food processor with walnuts and garlic. Puree.
- Add salt to taste.
- Add olive oil and blend again.
- If still too thick, thin with a little milk.
- Serve with parmesan cheese and garnish with toasted nuts.