Located in the north of the Gulf of Naples a picturesque volcanic island Ischia is famous for being a shooting scene for many outstanding movies (including “Cleopatra” with incomparable Elizabeth Taylor). It is also known for its high-quality wines, as well as for a few Neapolitan cuisine culinary pleasures. Savory, sweet, earthy and crunchy foriana sauce is a staple component in Ischia’s community diet, especially during Lent.
The sauce is very good when served like the way it is typically served on its motherland Ischia – with pasta, giving the dish quiet an interesting structure. It is also excellent with toasts, cheese, Brussel sprouts, green beans, or even roasted beets. I like to cut my beets into small cubes or coarsely grate them using a ‘mandolin’ type grater, then mix with foriana sauce and extra good quality olive oil, lemon juice, fresh parsley or basil (optional). This is a very healthy and unique beet salad.
The sauce is well kept in a refrigerator for up to two weeks. After each use, you should pour a thin layer of olive oil on the top of the sauce to keep it ‘fresh’ and ‘alive’.
The sauce recipe is adapted from a great book Well-Preserved by Eugenia Bone.
about 2 ½ cups
- 1 cup walnuts
- 1 cup pine or pistachio nuts (pine nuts in original version)
- 10 large cloves garlic
- 2 tsp dried oregano
- 3 tbsp olive oil, plus oil to cover the sauce in the pot
- ½ cup light or golden raisins
- Black pepper
For Pasta ala foriana (6 servings):
- 1 package (450-500 g) pasta (spaghetti, linguini, Fettuccine, etc.).
- 1 cup foriana sauce
- 1-2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- Pecorino Romano or Parmesan cheese (optional)
In a blender or a food processor coarsely grind the nuts and the garlic. The mixture should look like granola. Add the oregano and pulse it a few more times to combine.
In a medium-size skillet heat the olive oil, add the nut mixture, the raisins, salt and pepper. Cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes, stirring constantly, avoiding browning.
Put the hot sauce in clean jars, pour a thin layer of olive oil and store in a refrigerator for up to two weeks.
Cook the pasta al dente according to package directions.
Drain the pasta, reserving about 1/3 cup of water. Stir in foriana sauce and extra virgin olive oil, if needed. If the pasta seems rather dry, add a little water from the pasta.
Serve sprinkled with cheese and parsley or basil, if desired.
Cook with pleasure!