Walnut Marsala Cream Sauce for Pasta

Walnut Marsala Cream Sauce for Pasta Recipe

Tossing pasta in tomato sauce is probably what I make most often but today I wanted to prepare something out of the ordinary. I had ready-made pumpkin ravioli pasta for our upcoming Fall holidays and prepared a walnut marsala cream sauce. 

The sauce revolved around 3 main flavorings: finely chopped (almost powdered) walnuts, marsala wine and cream top. Once I tossed the ravioli in a bit of oil to give them a nice texture, I poured the decadent pasta sauce over the pumpkin ravioli. Give this sauce a try you won't be using regular tomato sauce for a while!


Yields: 8 servings

1 (16-ounce) package pumpkin ravioli pasta, store-bought
3 shallots, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, finely minced
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, diced
½ cup finely chopped walnuts
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon nutmeg, freshly grated
1½ cup whole milk, warmed for 2 minutes in the microwave
¼ teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground
1 sprig fresh tarragon, stemmed and finely chopped
¼ cup Gruyère cheese, freshly grated
2 tablespoons olive oil
¼ cup Marsala wine


Boiling the ravioli: Bring about 3 quarts of water to a boil. Add the ravioli, bring back to a boil, then immediately lower the heat to a gentle boil. That way the pasta will cook all the way through. Cook the pasta for about 3-4 minutes total until the ravioli float to the surface. Drain (do not rinse) and let stand in a colander.

Making pasta sauce: 

In a saucepan, melt 2 tablespoons of butter over medium-low; you don't want the butter to burn. Add the walnuts. Cook for 2-3 minutes until fragrant; transfer to a plate. Bring the heat back up to medium-high (the butter should be hot and golden) and add the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter, shallots, and garlic, stirring frequently to prevent the shallots from burning, until the color is evenly golden brown. Add the Marsala wine and warm milk, then bring to a boil for 2-3 minutes. Add tarragon and Gruyère cheese. Stir until well incorporated. Season with nutmeg, salt and pepper. Let the sauce rest until it's time to assemble the dish.


In a large pan, heat the olive oil. Add the ravioli and walnuts. Toss them by moving the pan in a circular motion (the pan should be lifted at a low angle to facilitate the movement). Season with salt and pepper. Pour the pasta sauce into the pan. Turn off the heat. Gently toss to coat the ravioli pasta. Adjust seasoning if necessary.

Serve warm.

Bon appétit! 


If you're a pasta lover, check out my other pasta dishes.

I used Strauss brand cream top milk. It's the cream that naturally floats to the top in organic milk because it is non-homogenized. You could substitute whole milk or half and half.

I used Marsala wine (an Italian wine liqueur) for this recipe but you could also use dry white wine or even water if you don't want to use alcohol.



Published By: Jacqueline Pham on October 1, 2014.


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