Walnut Sauce with Ricotta and Spinach

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This Walnut Sauce recipe with Ricotta and Spinach on a white plate on napkin with walnuts and jar in background. This recipe is thick, rich, nutty, and creamy.  It's inspired by the traditional Italian Walnut Sauce from the North-Western Italy, Liguria Region, but my Walnut Sauce recipe adds even more decadence with creamy ricotta and more nutty parmesan cheese.

This Walnut Sauce recipe with Ricotta and Spinach is thick, rich, nutty, and creamy.  It’s inspired by the traditional Italian Walnut Sauce from the North-western Italy, Liguria Region.  My Walnut Sauce recipe adds even more decadence.  I add creamy ricotta and more nutty parmesan cheese.  Each bite is creamy and nutty and incredibly satisfying!

Walnut Sauce in a jar on cutting board with walnuts next to it. Bowl in back. This recipe has ricotta cheese and parmesan with spinach and is thick, rich, nutty, and creamy.  It's inspired by the traditional Italian Walnut Sauce from the North-Western Italy, Liguria Region, but my Walnut Sauce recipe adds even more decadence with creamy ricotta and more nutty parmesan cheese.

I had Walnut Sauce for the first time in Italy when my husband and I were in Cinque Terre.  It was served with Pansotti, which is a stuffed pasta similar to ravioli, filled with ricotta and spinach.

My recipe deconstructs the dish putting ricotta and spinach directly into the sauce.  I added Fettuccine so the sauce could coat each and every piece of pasta for perfect bites.

Close up of Walnut Sauce recipe with Ricotta and Spinach mixed with Fettuccine on a white plate with fork. The recipe is thick, rich, nutty, and creamy.  It's inspired by the traditional Italian Walnut Sauce from the North-Western Italy, Liguria Region, but my Walnut Sauce recipe adds even more decadence with creamy ricotta and more nutty parmesan cheese.

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PREP-AHEAD TO MAKE YOUR COOKING ‘KIT’

You are busy, so these are the steps you can do a day or two in advance to prepare food ahead!  (See the recipe below for more details)

Ingredients for this Walnut Sauce recipe with Ricotta and Spinach. It is thick, rich, nutty, and creamy.  It's inspired by the traditional Italian Walnut Sauce from the North-Western Italy, Liguria Region, but my Walnut Sauce recipe adds even more decadence with creamy ricotta and more nutty parmesan cheese.

For this recipe, you can make the sauce entirely ahead of time.  Then mix it with pasta when you are ready to eat.

Walnuts on counter for this Walnut Sauce recipe with Ricotta and Spinach is thick, rich, nutty, and creamy.  It's inspired by the traditional Italian Walnut Sauce from the North-Western Italy, Liguria Region, but my Walnut Sauce recipe adds even more decadence with creamy ricotta and more nutty parmesan cheese.

When you blend the walnuts, magic happens!  They release their oils and  combine with the other ingredients to form a creamy texture and taste.

The traditional recipe uses bread to thicken the sauce.  I tried Gluten Free white bread from Trader Joe’s and it worked beautifully!  Of course, you can use regular white bread instead.  Cut off the crust of one slice and simply soak the bread in the milk for a few minutes.

Pour milk over bread in a bowl. It is the thickener in this Walnut Sauce recipe with Ricotta and Spinach. It is thick, rich, nutty, and creamy.  It's inspired by the traditional Italian Walnut Sauce from the North-Western Italy, Liguria Region, but my Walnut Sauce recipe adds even more decadence with creamy ricotta and more nutty parmesan cheese.

Gluten Free Bread is used as the thickener in this creamy Walnut Sauce with Ricotta and Parmesan Cheese.

Once the bread is soaked, add it and the remaining milk to the blender.  Also add to the blender the walnuts, parmesan cheese, ricotta, oregano, salt, garlic, and olive oil.  Then Blend it up!  It will be extremely thick, so you may need to scrape down the sides.  Loosen the mixture up at the bottom of the blender as needed.  If it’s still too thick to blend, add a tablespoon at a time of lukewarm water until it starts to blend smooth.  You can store the sauce in the fridge for up to a week.

All ingredients in a blender for the Walnut Sauce: garlic, walnuts, milk-soaked bread, ricotta, parmesan. This Walnut Sauce recipe with Ricotta and Spinach is thick, rich, nutty, and creamy.  It's inspired by the traditional Italian Walnut Sauce from the North-Western Italy, Liguria Region, but my Walnut Sauce recipe adds even more decadence with creamy ricotta and more nutty parmesan cheese.

Walnut Sauce blended in the blender with fork showing it up close. This Walnut Sauce recipe with Ricotta and Spinach is thick, rich, nutty, and creamy.  It's inspired by the traditional Italian Walnut Sauce from the North-Western Italy, Liguria Region, but my Walnut Sauce recipe adds even more decadence with creamy ricotta and more nutty parmesan cheese.

Walnut Sauce in a jar on cutting board with walnuts next to it. Bowl in back. This recipe has ricotta cheese and parmesan with spinach and is thick, rich, nutty, and creamy.  It's inspired by the traditional Italian Walnut Sauce from the North-Western Italy, Liguria Region, but my Walnut Sauce recipe adds even more decadence with creamy ricotta and more nutty parmesan cheese.

COOK THE WALNUT SAUCE WITH PASTA AND SPINACH:

When you’re ready to eat this amazing Walnut Sauce, pick your pasta and cook it according to pack instructions.  I used a Gluten Free Fettuccine made with brown rice flour.  You can use any pasta that you love in this recipe!  I have also used Wide Rice Noodles as fettuccine replacements before (see my Chicken, Tomato, Pepper, Pasta) and they work great!

Walnut sauce added from the blender to a large skillet. This Walnut Sauce recipe with Ricotta and Spinach is thick, rich, nutty, and creamy.  It's inspired by the traditional Italian Walnut Sauce from the North-Western Italy, Liguria Region, but my Walnut Sauce recipe adds even more decadence with creamy ricotta and more nutty parmesan cheese.

Warm your sauce through in a skillet and then add the baby spinach.  Mix it so that the spinach begins to wilt, just a couple minutes.  Then add the drained pasta, but MAKE SURE TO SAVE SOME OF THE PASTA WATER.  As you mix the pasta into the walnut sauce you will find it extremely thick, which is how it should be.  However, you’ll probably want to thin it out a bit by adding a tablespoon of pasta water at a time until it reaches the consistency you want.

Walnut Sauce, Spinach, and Fettuccine all mixed together in a skillet on stove top. This Walnut Sauce recipe with Ricotta and Spinach is thick, rich, nutty, and creamy.  It's inspired by the traditional Italian Walnut Sauce from the North-Western Italy, Liguria Region, but my Walnut Sauce recipe adds even more decadence with creamy ricotta and more nutty parmesan cheese.

Finally season with salt and pepper to taste, plate and garnish with fresh grated parmesan.

ENJOY!  😍 Carrie

Walnut Sauce mixed with fettuccine and spinach on a plate with a fork. This Walnut Sauce recipe with Ricotta and Spinach is thick, rich, nutty, and creamy.  It's inspired by the traditional Italian Walnut Sauce from the North-Western Italy, Liguria Region, but my Walnut Sauce recipe adds even more decadence with creamy ricotta and more nutty parmesan cheese.

Walnut Sauce Pasta with Ricotta and Spinach

This Walnut Sauce recipe with Ricotta and Spinach is thick, rich, nutty, and creamy.  It's inspired by the traditional Italian Walnut Sauce from the North-Western Italy, Liguria Region, but my Walnut Sauce recipe adds even more decadence with creamy ricotta and more nutty parmesan cheese.
Course Main Course, pasta
Cuisine Italian
Keyword gluten free, pasta, spinach, vegetarian, walnut sauce
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Servings 6 servings
Calories 555 kcal
Author Carrie Tyler

Ingredients

Walnut Sauce

  • 1 cup milk 1% or 2%
  • 1 slice white bread, gluten free any white bread is fine
  • 1 1/2 cups walnuts, plain
  • 1/2 clove Garlic
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan Cheese, grated
  • 1/4 cup Ricotta
  • 3 Tbls Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/2 tsp Oregano, dried
  • 1/4 tsp Salt

Make Pasta & Mix with Sauce

  • 10 oz Fettuccine Pasta, dried Gluten Free
  • 1 tsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 cups Baby Spinach 2 heaping cups or handfuls is great here

Instructions

Prep Ahead - Make Sauce

  1. Cut the crust off the bread slice and soak in the milk.  Once it is soaked, add both the soaked break and the milk into the blender.

    Gluten Free Bread is used as the thickener in this creamy Walnut Sauce with Ricotta and Parmesan Cheese.
  2. To the blender, add the walnuts, parmesan cheese, ricotta, oregano, salt, garlic, and olive oil.  

    All ingredients in a blender for the Walnut Sauce: garlic, walnuts, milk-soaked bread, ricotta, parmesan. This Walnut Sauce recipe with Ricotta and Spinach is thick, rich, nutty, and creamy.  It's inspired by the traditional Italian Walnut Sauce from the North-Western Italy, Liguria Region, but my Walnut Sauce recipe adds even more decadence with creamy ricotta and more nutty parmesan cheese.
  3. Pulse to start the blending and incorporate all ingredients. Then blend until smooth.  If it gets stopped up, stir with a spoon or spatula.  If it really can't get going, add a tablespoon at a time of lukewarm water until it starts to blend smooth.  The sauce should be very thick at this stage.

    Walnut Sauce blended in the blender with fork showing it up close. This Walnut Sauce recipe with Ricotta and Spinach is thick, rich, nutty, and creamy.  It's inspired by the traditional Italian Walnut Sauce from the North-Western Italy, Liguria Region, but my Walnut Sauce recipe adds even more decadence with creamy ricotta and more nutty parmesan cheese.
  4. At this point, you can cook move on to warm the sauce and mix with the pasta and spinach or store in the fridge for up to a week.

Cook with Pasta

  1. Cook the Pasta according to package instructions.  Drain the Pasta, but save the pasta water for thinning out the walnut sauce.

  2. Coat the bottom of a large preheated skillet with a drizzle of Olive Oil.  Then add the Walnut Sauce to heat through.  (Note, the sauce will be super thick, so you may need to thin it out with pasta water. It also may more sauce than you need so you can save some of it and add it if needed). Turn the heat down to low.  

    Walnut sauce added from the blender to a large skillet. This Walnut Sauce recipe with Ricotta and Spinach is thick, rich, nutty, and creamy.  It's inspired by the traditional Italian Walnut Sauce from the North-Western Italy, Liguria Region, but my Walnut Sauce recipe adds even more decadence with creamy ricotta and more nutty parmesan cheese.
  3. Add the Baby Spinach to the sauce and mix to combine.  You don't need to cook it long, just 1-2 minutes, as you want the bright green color and fresh flavor to remain.  The heat of the sauce will wilt down the spinach.

  4. Once the sauce is heated through and the spinach starts to wilt, drain the pasta and add it to the sauce.  Add 2 tbls of the pasta water to thin out the sauce slightly and mix through with this pasta.  Add another tbls of pasta water if needed.  Finally, taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper as needed.

    Walnut Sauce, Spinach, and Fettuccine all mixed together in a skillet on stove top. This Walnut Sauce recipe with Ricotta and Spinach is thick, rich, nutty, and creamy.  It's inspired by the traditional Italian Walnut Sauce from the North-Western Italy, Liguria Region, but my Walnut Sauce recipe adds even more decadence with creamy ricotta and more nutty parmesan cheese.
  5. Serve the pasta with walnut sauce with freshly grated parmesan cheese and Enjoy!

    Walnut Sauce mixed with fettuccine and spinach on a plate with a fork. This Walnut Sauce recipe with Ricotta and Spinach is thick, rich, nutty, and creamy.  It's inspired by the traditional Italian Walnut Sauce from the North-Western Italy, Liguria Region, but my Walnut Sauce recipe adds even more decadence with creamy ricotta and more nutty parmesan cheese.

Luscious Tomato Cream Sauce Pasta

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This Luscious Tomato Cream Sauce Pasta tastes amazing - and it's amazingly simple to make!! I call it Luscious because the tomatoes, which are still slightly chunky become this thick, creamy, smooth, velvety, and flavorful sauce. The combination of the San Marzano tomatoes and sour cream takes a simple red sauce to a perfect pink heavenly cream sauce!

This Luscious Tomato Cream Sauce Pasta is a recipe that I have been cooking for years, but was never really a recipe in my mind, just my go-to dish for when I hadn’t really planned anything else.  But the taste is anything but an afterthought…it’s seriously amazing – and amazingly simple!!  I describe it as luscious because the tomatoes, which are still slightly chunky become this thick, creamy, smooth, velvety, and flavorful sauce.  I warn you, you will want to lock the doors, grab a spoon, and eat this sauce straight from the pan (not because I’ve done that or anything😳).  But I recommend that you mix it with a Rotini or Fusilli pasta that can hold all of that luscious sauce in the spiral grooves and enjoy it with your family.

This Luscious Tomato Cream Sauce Pasta tastes amazing - and it's amazingly simple to make!! I call it Luscious because the tomatoes, which are still slightly chunky become this thick, creamy, smooth, velvety, and flavorful sauce. The combination of the San Marzano tomatoes and sour cream takes a simple red sauce to a perfect pink heavenly cream sauce!

PREP-AHEAD TO MAKE YOUR COOKING ‘KIT’

Honestly, this recipe is so simple that there really is very little to prep ahead.  But, every little bit helps, right?  So, here are the steps you can do the day(s) in advance and store in the fridge.

  • Mince 1 garlic clove and store in a small container or storage bag
  • Open the can of San Marzano whole peeled tomatoes and crush the tomatoes with your fingers into a storage container or bag.  Pour in the remaining sauce from the can and store crushed tomatoes and sauce in the fridge
  • Into a small bowl, add the sour cream, the Vegetable Base, and cornstarch and mix to combine.  Seal the bowl with plastic wrap or cover with lid and store in the fridge.

Tomato Cream Sauce Pasta - Sour Cream ingredients

Tomato Cream Sauce Pasta - Sour Cream mixed

  • Make the Rotini or Fusilli pasta and store in a storage bag in the fridge.  I use Gluten-Free Rotini pasta in this dish, but use your favorite!
  • Place the 5 prepped ingredients on a pan in the fridge to create your Kit:  garlic, tomatoes, sour cream mixture, and pasta.

 

LET’S COOK:

Now comes the EASIEST dinner you’ve ever put together (not counting delivery;)).

Saute the garlic in a preheated large skillet, add the tomatoes and cook for several minutes.  Next whisk in the sour cream, vegetable base, and cornstarch mixture.  Cook for another 5 minutes until the sauce thickens and starts to bubble (lightly cover with aluminum foil if it starts to splatter).

Luscious Tomato Cream Sauce Pasta mixing in the sour cream.

Last, add in the basil and the pasta and stir to completely combine.

This Luscious Tomato Cream Sauce Pasta tastes amazing - and it's amazingly simple to make!! I call it Luscious because the tomatoes, which are still slightly chunky become this thick, creamy, smooth, velvety, and flavorful sauce. The combination of the San Marzano tomatoes and sour cream takes a simple red sauce to a perfect pink heavenly cream sauce!

Serve on a plate or in a bowl and garnish with basil and parmesan cheese (if you like)!

Enjoy!!

This Luscious Tomato Cream Sauce Pasta tastes amazing - and it's amazingly simple to make!! I call it Luscious because the tomatoes, which are still slightly chunky become this thick, creamy, smooth, velvety, and flavorful sauce. The combination of the San Marzano tomatoes and sour cream takes a simple red sauce to a perfect pink heavenly cream sauce!

Luscious Tomato Cream Sauce Pasta

This Luscious Tomato Cream Sauce Pasta tastes amazing - and it's amazingly simple to make!!  I describe it as luscious because the tomatoes, which are still slightly chunky become this thick, creamy, smooth, velvety, and flavorful sauce.  The combination of the San Marzano tomatoes and sour cream takes a simple red sauce to a perfect pink heavenly cream sauce!

Course Main Course
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 4 people
Author Carrie Tyler

Ingredients

  • 28 oz San Marzano Tomatoes, whole peeled (1 can)
  • 1 clove Garlic
  • 1 tsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/2 cup Sour Cream
  • 1 tsp Vegetable Base
  • 1 tbls Cornstarch
  • 3 tbls basil, finely sliced
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Fresh Ground Pepper
  • 3 cups uncooked pasta

Instructions

Prep Ahead to make your Cooking Kit

  1. Mince 1 garlic clove and store in a small container or storage bag
  2. Open the can of San Marzano whole peeled tomatoes and crush the tomatoes with your fingers into a storage container or bag. Pour in the remaining sauce from the can and store crushed tomatoes and sauce in the fridge
  3. Into a small bowl, add the sour cream, the Vegetable Base, and cornstarch and mix to combine. Seal the bowl with plastic wrap or cover with lid and store in the fridge.
    Tomato Cream Sauce Pasta - Sour Cream ingredients
  4. Make the Fusilli pasta and store in a storage bag in the fridge.
  5. Place the 5 prepped ingredients on a pan in the fridge to create your Kit: garlic, tomatoes, sour cream mixture, and pasta.

Cook

  1. Add the garlic to a preheated large skillet with a teaspoon of Extra Virgin Olive Oil.  Saute the garlic for 2 minutes on medium to low heat stirring it around so it doesn't burn.   

  2. Next add the tomatoes and the tomato sauce that you have crushed. If you haven't crushed them yet, do so right as you add them to the pan!  
  3. Slowly whisk in the sour cream mixture to the tomatoes in the skillet.  Cook for another 5 minutes until the sauce thickens and starts to bubble (lightly cover with aluminum foil if it starts to splatter).  Add salt and pepper, mix, then add more to taste.

    Luscious Tomato Cream Sauce Pasta mixing in the sour cream.
  4. Stir in the basil, leaving a little for garnish.  If you cooked the pasta ahead of time and it is cold, put it in a strainer and run warm water over it to soften and separate it.  Stir the cooked pasta into the tomato sauce.

  5. Serve in a bowl or plate and garnish with basil and grated parmesan cheese (if you like).  Enjoy!

    This Luscious Tomato Cream Sauce Pasta tastes amazing - and it's amazingly simple to make!! I call it Luscious because the tomatoes, which are still slightly chunky become this thick, creamy, smooth, velvety, and flavorful sauce. The combination of the San Marzano tomatoes and sour cream takes a simple red sauce to a perfect pink heavenly cream sauce!