What sorts of nuts are common in (real) Italian cooking?

Looking online it seems that walnuts, almonds and hazelnuts figure heavily but do Italians use cashew nuts, peanuts, pistachio or other nuts?

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    How do you define "real Italian cooking"... Do you mean Italian cooking from 100 years ago or are you willing to include modern Italian cooking. I would guess that, in the case of the latter, any nuts commonly available may be used on a regular basis.
    – Catija
    Commented Aug 11, 2015 at 19:22
  • @Catija I just meant Italian food that you would get in Italy as opposed to Italian food from the US or another non-Italian country.
    – Simd
    Commented Aug 11, 2015 at 19:24
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    pignoli (pine nuts), at the very least.
    – Joe
    Commented Aug 11, 2015 at 19:31
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    I was merely trying to point out that, with the greater availability of foods around the world, the "Italian food" you see in restaurants now may be different than what you would have seen a century ago. For example (not nut related) but Italy is the biggest producer of Kiwi fruit... which is certainly a new introduction to their culture.
    – Catija
    Commented Aug 11, 2015 at 19:32
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    @Joe Technically, they're not nuts, they're seeds for all they're called that... though, cashews and peanuts aren't technically "nuts" either by the same definition so... yeah. But they certainly use pistachios, too... I saw pistachio gelato all over the place.
    – Catija
    Commented Aug 11, 2015 at 19:36

2 Answers 2


Traditional "continental" Italian cuisine only use locally grown produce.

This includes depending on the area: Almonds, Walnuts, Pine nuts, chestnuts, hazelnuts, pistachio (maybe some other less known nuts)

Peanuts and Cashew (and others exotic nuts) came in later in Italian cooking; they were probably introduced with the advance of food transportation technologies (cargo ships, refrigerated containers...)


I would say cashews and peanuts are not traditional Italian. Pistachios and hazelnuts are commonly used for desserts, think nutella for example. Pine nuts (pesto) and chestnuts are also traditional. It might not what you are looking for, but nutmeg is a common Italian spice.

  • Pine nuts are almost ubiquitous in ligurian food. Walnuts are also used in sweet food or in genoese salsa di noci. Just to complement the answer.
    – Alchimista
    Commented Feb 27, 2019 at 14:03

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