Pansotti Con Salsa di Noci (Pansotti with Walnut Sauce)


December 18, 2010 -  I had decided to try this recipe from Mario Batali's Cookbook  - Molto Italiano: 327 Simple Italian Recipes to Cook at Home - and invited several of my friends over to help.  Although the recipe is fairly simple, we somehow got confused around Step 7. I'd like to blame it on the wine instead of me just not reading carefully. Despite our confusion, I have to say that our final product was delicious - I'm just not so sure it's what Mr. Batali intended when he wrote the recipe.  If you decide to make this recipe, I would suggest doing it Mario's way.
Makes 4 servings


  • 3 tablespoons PLUS 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 medium red onion, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 medium zucchini, sliced into 1/16-inch-thick rounds
  • 1 bunch oregano, leaves only
  • 1/2 cup toasted bread crumbs
  • 1 cup roughly chopped walnuts
  • 1 tablespoon hot red pepper flakes
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup ricotta
  • 3/4 cup freshly grated Pecorino-Romano
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup chopped Italian parsley
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 recipe for Basic Pasta Dough


Step 1:  In a 10- to 12-inch sauté pan, heat 3 tablespoons of the olive oil under medium heat until smoking. Add onion and half the garlic and cook until softened and lightly browned, 8 to 10 minutes. We had no problem with this step.
Step 2: Add zucchini and oregano (We used fresh basil instead of oregano) and cook until the zucchini is very soft, 3 to 4 minutes. 
Step 3: Remove from the heat and allow to cool.
Step 4:  In another large sauté pan, heat the remaining 1/4 cup olive oil over medium heat until smoking. Add the remaining garlic and cook until light golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Add half of the bread crumbs, walnuts and red pepper flakes and cook, stirring to mix well, for 2 to 3 minutes. 
Step 5: Remove from the heat and set aside. Note:  Mario says to roughly chop the walnuts.  If I were to remake the recipe, I would chop the walnuts into much smaller pieces than the size in the picture above.
Step 6:  In a medium bowl, stir together the zucchini mixture, egg, ricotta, 1/2 cup of the Pecorino-Romano, nutmeg and parsley until well mixed. Season the filling lightly with salt and pepper. Set aside 1/4 cup to finish the dish.  
Somehow, I managed to reserve 1/4 cup of the zucchini mixture before I added the ricotta and the egg.  I blame this on the wine!
Step 7: To make the pansotti, divide the dough into 4 pieces. Roll each one through the second thinnest setting of a pasta machine and lay the sheets on a lightly floured work surface. Cut the pasta into 3-inch rounds. Place 1 1/2 teaspoons of filling in the centre of each round and fold over to make a half moon, pressing to seal the edges. 
Transfer to a baking sheet dusted with flour or cornmeal.
Step 8: Bring 6 quarts of water to a boil in a large pot, and add 2 tablespoon salt. Drop the pansotti into the water and cook until the pasta is tender, 3 to 4 minutes. Drain the pasta, reserving 1/2 cup of the cooking water. 
Step 9: Add the pasta to the pan with the walnut mixture (I totally forgot to do this).
Step 10:  Place the pan over medium heat, add 1/4 cup of the cooking water and reserved filling mix, and toss lightly. I added the cooking water and my reserved filling but without the ricotta and egg to the walnut mixture.
Step 11: Add parsley and remaining Pecorino-Romano and toss well, adding more pasta water if needed. Transfer to a heated bowl, sprinkle with remaining bread crumbs, serve.
Here is a picture of our final dish.  It doesn't look or probably taste as Mario intended but nevertheless, it was still delicious.  The walnut sauce was obviously dry but the pansotti had a very nice flavor.

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