Tortellini Ligurian Style

Pansotti is a homemade filled pasta typical of the Liguria region.  The plump filled pasta earns its name from the Italian word, “panica,” which means potbelly.  The homemade version is sometimes shaped as a triangular ravioli or half moon, but most often as a large tortellini, so a quality storebought tortellini can easily substitute.  
In Liguria, Pansotti is almost always served with walnut sauce. Containing pignoli (pine nuts) and garlic, the walnut sauce can be thought of as a ‘white pesto,’ though the addition of milk-soaked bread and marjoram as a seasoning makes it significantly different from traditional pesto.  Perfect for fall, the addition of sliced mushrooms such as porcini or portobello add depth of flavor.  Feel free to use tricolor tortellini, too, for a splash of color and additional flavors. 
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Total Time 35 mins
Course Lunch
Cuisine Italian
Servings 4 servings



  • Soak the bread in milk, then drain and squeeze.
  • Put the drained bread in the blender along with the walnuts, the garlic, the pine nuts, the marjoram, parmesan cheese and a teaspoon of salt.  
  • Blend until smooth.
  • Boil 8 quarts of water, add 1 lb filled tortellini and cook to al dente.  
  • Add 5 TB of olive oil and some of the cooked pasta water before draining in order to create a thick, creamy sauce.  
  • Drain the pasta, put into large serving bowl.
  • Add the walnuts and blend just a moment longer in order to incorporate the walnut pieces.
  • Toss the sauce with the tortellini pasta and serve hot.
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