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Spaghetti alla Nerano | Authentic Italian Zucchini Pasta Recipe

This classic zucchini pasta from Campania is hardly a boring, vegetable dish. You won't believe how delicious and creamy this simple plate of spaghetti is!

Spaghetti alla Nerano | Authentic Italian Zucchini Pasta Recipe

Watch the Pasta Grammar recipe where we make this recipe here:

Serve 2.

For this recipe, you will need:

  • 1 large zucchini

  • Oil for frying (olive oil is preferred, but vegetable oil will work)

  • 2-3 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

  • 1 clove of garlic; peeled, halved and cored

  • Salt

  • Fresh black pepper

  • 5.5 oz. (155g) spaghetti

  • 3.5 oz. (100g) sharp Italian provolone cheese (don't confuse this with "normal" provolone!)

  • 4-5 fresh basil leaves

Slice the zucchini into very thin discs; the thinner the better! Fill a large, deep pan with about 2-inches of frying oil and bring it up to medium/high temperature on a stovetop.

When the oil is hot, test it by dropping in a single slice of zucchini. If it begins to bubble and fry immediately, the oil is ready! Working in batches, drop in the zucchini slices but be careful not to overcrowd the pan. Stir them occasionally, and remove them with a slotted spoon to a paper towel when they begin to turn golden. Repeat until all of the zucchini is fried.

Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil. Salt it generously and add the spaghetti. Cook as directed but for 4 minutes less than the recommended "al dente" cook time.

Meanwhile, place the olive oil and halved garlic clove in a large pan over medium heat. When the garlic begins to sizzle in the oil, remove it and add the fried zucchini. Sauté them for about 3 minutes, then add a ladle or two of pasta water into the pan. Bring to a simmer and salt/pepper the zucchini to taste.

When the pasta is cooked, use tongs or a spaghetti fork to transfer it into the sauce. Turn up the heat to medium/high and stir all together until the pasta is al dente to your taste. Add more pasta water as needed to maintain plenty of moisture in the pan. Without liquid, the pasta won't cook!

When the pasta is al dente, turn off the heat and add most of the grated cheese (save some for topping) and a few torn basil leaves. Stir all together until the cheese melts.

Serve immediately, topped with more grated provolone and basil. Buon appetito!

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Derrick Mancini
Derrick Mancini
Dec 05, 2023

Made it for my wife tonight, and she loved it. I used a good bronze-cut linguine instead of spaghetti, though.

Can you cook up a larger batch of the fried zucchini slices and use them in other recipes? Can they keep overnight?


Jun 24, 2022

Perfect timing for this recipe; I'm in the Mid-Atlantic area and local zucchini is just becoming available. I also live in an Italian neighborhood, so markets carry good, imported provolone. This was easy to make and absolutely delicious!

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