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Croxetti with Ligurian walnut sauce

As for many traditional Italian recipes, the simplicity of the ingredients can be a blessing and a curse. The deliciousness of this traditional Walnut pesto relies on finding the best quality nuts possible that have a rich, sapid flavor. Outside Italy, varieties of French or Chilean walnuts are ideal and readily available.

Ingrédients

  • ‘Pasta di Liguria’ Croxetti pasta
  • Favuzzi olive oil
  • Garlic
  • Pine nuts
  • Walnuts
  • Grated parmesan
  • Fresh breadcrumbs
  • Milk
  • Butter/dash of cream 
  • Marjoram

Préparation

  1. Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil and add the Croxetti based on the portion sizes indicated on the pack and the number of people you’re cooking for. Add a dash of olive oil to the water to stop them from sticking together. Keep the pan on a continuous rolling boil throughout the cooking time. Cook for the time indicated on the pack stirring occasionally.
  2.  Meanwhile, prepare the walnut sauce: Put a handful of breadcrumbs in a bowl and add enough milk to cover. Leave to soak for a minute and then squeeze out the excess milk retaining it in a bowl and set aside the bread pulp. 
  3. In a bowl of a food processor or in a pestle and mortar add a garlic clove, small handful of pine nuts, a few sprigs of marjoram and 2 good handfuls of shelled walnuts and blitz chop or pound in batches until a sandy texture.  Add the softened bread, grated parmesan and a slug of EVO and mix until combined. Add enough of the excess milk from the bread until you have a smooth but thick paste like the consistency of Greek yogurt. Adjust the seasoning.
  4. Transfer the walnut sauce to a wide serving dish with a knob of butter/or cream. Slacken slightly with some of the pasta water to melt the butter, if using, and to make it easier to incorporate the pasta when cooked.
  5. Drain the cooked pasta, retaining some of the cooking water aside. Add the pasta immediately to the sauce. Mix until coated adjusting the consistency with some of the cooking water (or more cream) as needed. Keep the sauce slightly wetter than you would expect as the pasta will continue to absorb the liquid as it rests. Dress with chopped marjoram, walnut pieces and parmesan and serve with a drizzle of Olive oil.