Make Ahead

Edward Giobbi's Spaghetti alla Foriana

September 18, 2012
6 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Serves 4 with sauce to spare
Author Notes

"This is my father’s recipe," writes Eugenia Bone, "one I often serve to vegetarians, who almost always have an epiphany when they taste it on spaghetti." And not only does the sauce keep for other uses, covered in olive oil in the fridge, it gets better and better. The aromas of garlic and oregano are lured out, mingling with the nutty bits and perfuming the oil. Bone stuffs pork chops with it, stirs it into seafood stew, and spoons it on top of bruschetta. Sauce recipe adapted from Well-Preserved by Eugenia Bone (Clarkson Potter, 2009). —Genius Recipes

What You'll Need
  • Foriana Sauce
  • 1 cup walnuts
  • 1 cup pine nuts
  • 5 tablespoons sliced garlic (about 10 large cloves)
  • 3 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil plus more for covering the jars
  • 1/2 cup white or golden raisins
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • Spaghetti alla Foriana
  • 3/4 pound spaghettini
  • 1 cup Foriana Sauce
  • 1/2 cup grated pecorino cheese (serve on the side to make the dish vegan-friendly)
  1. Foriana Sauce
  2. Place the walnuts, pine nuts, and garlic in a food processor and pulse to a fine chop, until the nuts are like damp granola. Add the oregano and pulse a few more times to combine.
  3. Heat the olive oil in a medium sized skillet over a medium heat. Add the nut mixture, the raisins, and salt and pepper to taste. Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring constantly to avoid burning or searing.
  4. If storing sauce for later, bring 3 half-pint jars and their bands to a boil in a large pot of water fitted with a rack. Boil for 10 minutes. Remove the jars with tongs (the tongs don't need to be sterilized). Simmer new lids in a small pan of hot water to soften the rubberized flange. When the jars are dry but still hot, pack in the Foriana Sauce, eliminating as many air pockets as you can. Fill the jars to about 1 inch below the rim. Add a 1/2-inch layer of oil to cover. Wipe the rims with a paper towel, set on the lids, screw on the bands, and refrigerate. Check on the sauce a day after you make it: you may need to add more oil to ensure it is completely covered.
  5. Be sure to cover the surface of the sauce well with oil after each use. Remove only the quantity of sauce you need for a dish and allow that to come to room temperature. Cover the remaining sauce in the jar with fresh oil and return it to the fridge promptly.
  6. You can hold Foriana Sauce, covered in olive oil in the refrigerator, for 10 days. (Note: Because of a low but very serious risk of botulism, make sure that the sauce heats through thoroughly in Step 2, and do not keep it in the refrigerator for longer than 10 days.)
  1. Spaghetti alla Foriana
  2. Cook the spaghettini in salted boiling water until al dente. Drain and toss with the Foriana Sauce. Garnish with the cheese. Check the seasoning and serve immediately.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Julie
  • Mae
  • Euro Kat
    Euro Kat
  • I_Fortuna
  • Robert
Genius Recipes

Recipe by: Genius Recipes

51 Reviews

Burton October 31, 2022
I think that calling this a sauce is a bit of a misnomer - it's more of a crunchy pasta topping, way dried than pesto. That said, sauce or not, it's delicious! No idea how you're supposed to store this under olive oil, since the sauce is so dry and crumbly and full of empty space that you'd have to basically have to add almost a whole jar's worth of oil in order to reach the top. Luckily, it's simple to scale this recipe either up or down, and so you can simply make the right amount to dress whatever pasta you're topping.
Burton October 31, 2022
*drier than pesto
m L. July 28, 2022
I have had this sauce in a restaurant and loved it. I will definitely try this recipe. I'm wondering if it would go well with orzo - maybe even as a salad with some additional olive oil. It seems odd adding raisins to pasta but it adds so much to the sauce.
Julie October 26, 2019
Delicious! I had to change some ingredients but used same quantities. My husband and I loved this simple dish. My thoughts & changes: The quantity listed makes enough for 6+ servings. I ended up freezing 1/2 of topping (without olive oil). You can easily cut in half - I would use 1 cup total nuts, 2t Mediterranean oregano (if using Mexican oregano cut down to 1 1/2t as I find it much stronger flavor), 5 garlic cloves, 1/2c+ golden raisins & lots of pepper, olive oil and a little salt. I Love to finish my pasta with a good sprinkle of crunchy Maldon salt, so a little less salt in the topping. I used 1c marcona almonds, 1c pistachios, 3t Mediterranean oregano, 6 clove garlic, 1/2c g. Raisins, salt & pepper. Followed directions for prep & cooking. Put in large mason jar, added olive oil to cover and put in fridge for 5 hours until dinner. I used some pasta water to loosen sauce. I was pleasantly surprised by the golden raisins. My husband dislikes them so I went shy - and he asked for more raisins! They were delicious!! Put grilled chicken breast on top and lots of Parmesan! Dinner for 2
Mae October 18, 2017
I made this tonight with some changes based on what I had on hand, and I was shocked by how good it is! I had never heard of Foriana sauce, so the idea was new to me. I used pecans, sunflower seeds, and red raisins, and I mixed it in with spaghetti squash. I'm not really one for using spaghetti squash in place of pasta, but the pecans and the raisins gave the whole dish a wonderful fall flavor! I will definitely be making this again with the squash, perhaps even on Thanksgiving!
Euro K. September 6, 2017
Has anyone else subbed pistachios for Pine nuts? Or is another substitute better? I am allergic to pine nuts.
I_Fortuna April 10, 2016
I have put golden raisins in my rice dishes before but never pasta. This looks great and I can easily anticipate how great it will be.
Robert September 28, 2015
I'd like to try this for my fiance'. Two questions: Can I halve the recipe with good results, and will a little extra stay good in the fridge for a day or two without canning?
JohnL July 17, 2022
I'm sorry I didn't see your post before now. I have made this recipe several times in the last few years, and thought it special enough to want my friends to know about it, too. So to answer your questions 1) Yes you can halve the recipe and it will not affect the outcome, and 2) I think the recipe mentioned somewhere that this sauce can be safely stored in the refrigerator for 10 days, if you top it off with a little oil in the storage container to prevent a skin from forming on the top of the sauce. I usually prepare the entire recipe for just me, so I always have leftovers. And trust me, none of it has ever gone to waste. But if you aren't going to be able to eat it before 10 days is up, all you have to do is freeze it. And from what I remember about the recipe, there is nothing about Foriana Sauce that makes it unsuitable for freezing for a month or two. And if you never got around to making it, you will be surprised at what an unusually delicious concoction it is. By the way, Ed Giobbi was not really a professional career chef, but someone who loved to cook and came up with a cookbook or two; Mr Giobbi was thought so highly of by the late great Craig Claiborne, that he put several of his recipes in the books he wrote with Pierre Franey (eg. The New York Times cookbooks). Another recipe of Giobbi's I haven't gotten around to trying (that people rave about) is his tomato sauce. Some think it's even better than Marcella Hazan's.
EmilyMarieC January 1, 2015
This is absolutely delicious, and so easy! I used it as an excuse to make homemade semolina spaghettini and it was the perfect accompaniment. I was impressed with how complex the favor was without that key "secret" Italian ingredient, anchovy -- it's great to have an equally-flavorful option for vegetarians.
KK December 1, 2014
My family loves this recipe. I added some heavy cream, sundried tomatoes and arugula. Used whole grain thin spaghetti. The dish was still dry, not saucy, it was delicious. Thank you for a wonderful recipe.
Omnishambles September 21, 2014
Made with pistachios instead of pine nuts, and wanted to note that the pistachio is a very worthy substitute. This stuff is truly amazing. Ate on spaghettini the first night, and stuffed beneath the skin of a spatchcocked chicken the next -- the skin crisped up and the garlicky nutty juices did their good work. And then for breakfast, spooned over a cloud of ricotta on a slice of nutty, seedy toast. Next up: a plan to make a weirdo variation with cashew nuts and almonds, and curry leaves instead of oregano -- it could go in a very different direction, but an equally delicious one I think.
Phyllis A. February 20, 2014
Hey Dr. Benny, Ed Giobbi's Lasagna. Best ever. Look for it. XXXOOO
JohnL February 13, 2014
Glad to see this recipe still being highlighted on the homepage from time to time--It really is delicious, quick & easy to make, versatile, and ADDICTIVE. It instantly became one of my most prized recipes. I like it so much I ordered the book and it finally hit me why all the talk of food safety--"Well Preserved" is a book that deals with canning and preserving food, and the author is simply being abundantly cautious which is appropriate in a book about preserving food. I keep a stash of this (I call it nut pesto) in the fridge and don't let my supply run out before I make another batch. It's that good. MUST TRY.
Christa November 25, 2015
The talk of food safety is just because nuts in oil is a possible botulism breeding ground, and botulism will kill you.
JohnL July 17, 2022
In her book, if I remember correctly, it's the garlic that poses a risk for botulism (garlic in its in the raw state stored in an anaerobic environment) in this recipe the garlic is cooked and not kept in the fridge more than 10 days, so it should be perfectly safe. Before I heard the botulism admonition, I used to prepare nuoc cham in quantity with raw garlic and stored it for months on end in the fridge and never had a problem. But now I observe the 10 day limit just to be safe.
Victoria P. January 27, 2014
I'm late to the comments on this one - just made it last night as a light winter Sunday supper with a green salad. Too bad I'd already opened a Cab and didn't have a chilled white wine at the ready - it would have been a lovely pairing. I added a few diced dried cranberries and a handful of dried breadcrumbs (reduced the nuts a smidge as well) - we loved it! My husband ate seconds. I put the rest of the mix in the freezer rather than go through the messy oil procedure. I'm assuming that will still address the toxicity issues.

This is NOT supposed to be a wet sauce (as per many comments below) it is a nutty, brown, crunchy preparation with touches of tart sweet fruit. You might want to drizzle with a little extra extra virgin olive oil but I didn't find it necessary. Oh and the oregano wasn't overpowering. A new dish for our quick dinner repertoire.
JohnL January 2, 2014
I tested a half batch of this recipe as a first course serving tossed with vermicelli and thought it was inspired and had an excellent balance of toasted nuttiness, garlic and oregano. I will definitely be making it again. For anyone undecided about trying it, think of it as a variety of pesto with the herb and nut proportions turned upside down. It is supposed to be dry and crumbly because of the high ratio of ground nuts--similar in effect to some of the pasta dishes that incorporate toasted bread crumbs at the last second for texture--you can (and I did) add a bit of water to loosen it, or more oil as you will do anyway when you top off your container for storage of the wonderful Foriana paste. The oregano is not too strong at all--again think how much basil goes into a typical pesto--a ton. The raisins are just barely there and you only bite into one occasionally. They add their little bursts of subtle sweetness and chew, and they definitely belong in the dish. I would much rather have an interesting first course serving of pasta Foriana than the usual pasta with pesto made with basil. And this is just as good with or without the cheese. And its an easy recipe to prepare, with few ingredients (mostly staple pantry items), and its something nice to have on hand in the fridge for a quick pasta dish. You will think of lots of ways to use it besides pasta. I have to agree: GENIUS!
Patricia J. December 7, 2013
I didn't have enough golden raisins, so I used some fresh dates cut into small pieces. Very tasty.
Diane October 26, 2013
I don't quite understand this dish. The crumbly, stiff dry texture of the sauce (I hesitate to call it that) was almost inpenetrable. I ended up draining the pasta very quickly, but still added at least a cup of pasta water to loosen it up and incorporate it (much like a fettucini alfredo preparation). The sweetness of the raisins seemed overpowering and I found myself adding salt, salt and more salt. I loved the earthy balance of the oregano. I also don't understand preserving the sauce in an oil to prevent the raw garlic from spoiling… the garlic is indeed cooked. I love every other genius recipe I've tried, but somehow I feel like I'm missing something on this one, perhaps it's as simple as personal preference.
becky October 26, 2013
added a can of tuna and a couple tablespoons of capers to this along with the spaghetti. very tasty and simple supper! thought I'd have trouble using up the leftovers in time but that won't be a problem as I can't seem to stop dipping crackers into it.
JohnL January 2, 2014
When you said tuna and dip, I immediately thought of Patricia Wells' recipe for Lemon- and Oregano-Seasoned Tuna Mousse from her Trattoria cookbook. It has attained cult status in some circles. Its not really a mousse, just a dip for crackers and crudités you can throw together in minutes in the food processor. It's killer.
Robin April 22, 2021
JohnL It is soo exciting to see a comment dated 7+ years earlier referring to a recipe in a cookbook I happen to have, and to walk over to the bookshelf and look it up. I will be making this recipe soon as well as Patricia Wells!
dc October 16, 2013
Looks delish, but I can't afford that many pine nuts!!
Fred B. May 31, 2013
re: the botulism issue...
I could half this, I suppose, but since serving will be just for one and I don't have the canning equipment and there'd be extra sauce, how about some thoughts on any issues with the freezing. Cool to room temp? Straight into freezer? Invite several unknowns over to sample my culinary experiment?
JohnL January 2, 2014
That was the one thing I found off-putting about the recipe--all this talk of botulism seemed to take up half the recipe. I have made and stored millions of things made with garlic and never heard a whisper of such spoilage talk and storing in sterilized jars, etc. I guess I'm taking a chance and living on the edge.
Fred B. January 2, 2014
Thanks John for bringing this back into my field. I set it aside at the time and will now go dig it out again. "Damn the toxicology report. Full steam ahead!"...or something like that.
Delia July 17, 2014
I think this is because the recipe was originally published in the author's column & book, both called "Well Preserved," which has a focus on canning & other preservation techniques. You can make this recipe, throw it all into a big clean jar to store in the fridge if you're using it in the next couple of days. Or freeze it. I've found it to be a very forgiving and flexible recipe. And delicious, of course.
Ann.cleary May 15, 2013
Is botulism really a risk?
Kristen M. May 15, 2013
Yes, storing undercooked garlic in olive oil (an anaerobic environment) poses a serious risk of botulism -- but this recipe is safe if prepared per the instructions.