Spaghetti with Zucchini (+video) is a popular recipe on the Amalfi Coast of Italy and Naples known as Spaghetti alla Nerano. It is a pasta dish loaded with thin slices of zucchini, grated cheese, and fresh basil, and it is divine!
Spaghetti alla Nerano…
The Spaghetti alla Nerano is an Italian pasta dish invented in the small Italian village of Nerano, located on the Sorrento peninsula, on the Amalfi coast.
- Its main ingredients are pasta, fried zucchini, and pecorino cheese, and it became famous this past year from Stanley Tucci’s series “Searching for Italy.”
- An old peasant recipe with simple ingredients and easy to prepare is amazingly delicious.
- It contains protein, carbs, and one vegetable.
- This dish is satisfying and fulfilling. A win-win! 🙂
Ingredients for Spaghetti with Zucchini (alla Nerano):
A handful of ingredients is all you will need…
1. ZUCCHINI: only fresh zucchini is best for this recipe, organic is even better.
2. OIL FOR FRYING: we prefer to use just “olive oil” for frying the zucchini, instead of vegetable oil. Choose any olive oil to fry, but not extra virgin, since it is not recommended for frying.
3. PASTA: spaghetti is preferred, and it is easily tossed with the zucchini-cheese sauce to wrap around every strand of spaghetti for full flavor. Many restaurants have also used other kinds of pasta like cavatelli, fusilli, and linguine.
4. CHEESE: choose pecorino-romano cheese, because it is commonly used and will create a cheese sauce using the salty pasta water to combine with it. The original recipe is made with provolone del Monaco, but pecorino is very close and just as good.
5. FRESH BASIL: there’s nothing like the aroma and flavor of fresh basil, especially when it is infused into the sauce.
6. EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL: choose a good quality extra virgin olive oil to make the sauce. It makes a huge difference in flavor.
7. SEASONINGS: a little salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste is all that’s needed.
WATCH OUR FULL VIDEO! How to make Spaghetti with Zucchini (alla Nerano)? ( 1-minute)
Our mom has made this zucchini dish for years, and you can also try her Linguine with Zucchini Onions & Garlic which is similar, but without frying.
Best of all, it is inexpensive! … costs about $14.00 dollars to buy all the ingredients for 4 servings, and even less if you only need some zucchini. 😉
Best of all, everyone will love this dish!
Italian cooking is simple and easy, and everyone can learn to cook Italian dishes like this one.
Don’t be afraid to try something new…
Additional Recipes for Easy Pasta Dishes…
- One-Pot Pasta Recipe
- Cacio e Pepe Recipe
- Zucchini Tomato Sauce over Fusilli Pasta
- Pasta with Creamy Cauliflower
- Pasta with Baby Peas
- 5 to 6 zucchini (medium-size) - rinse, pat dry, and thinly sliced
- olive oil, for frying
- 3/4 pound of spaghetti
For the Sauce:
- 3 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup of grated pecorino-romano cheese, and extra for serving
- handful of fresh basil - chopped
- salt and fresh cracked black pepper to taste
- salty pasta water, to make the sauce
- In a deep skillet, turn on moderate heat and add some olive oil to fry, about 1/2 cup to start with. Add additional oil, as needed.
- Toss in zucchini disks in batches (do not overload the skillet) and fry until golden brown on both sides. Drain on a plate lined with paper towels. Continue until all the zucchini has been fried. Turn off heat. Carefully pour any remaining oil into a mug, and set it aside to cool. Later, discard it.
- In the meantime, bring a pot of water to a boil. Add some salt, about 2 teaspoons. Toss in the spaghetti and cook until its nearly al-dente.
- Grab a paper towel and wipe clean the skillet. Drizzle extra virgin olive oil into the skillet. Turn on the heat, and transfer the fried zucchini back into the skillet.
- Next, add a little salt, fresh black pepper and fresh basil.
- Pour some salty pasta water into the skillet, about 1 ladle, and extra as needed. Then toss in the butter. Stir the mixture.
- When spaghetti is ready, turn off the heat. Use a spaghetti claw and transfer the spaghetti into the skillet. Scatter with grated pecorino cheese on top.
- Toss the spaghetti until it is well combined with the zucchini-cheese sauce. NOTE: if you need a little more liquid, add a little more salty water from the pot and toss until well combined.
- Serve immediately. Finish with extra cheese and fresh basil on top, for serving.
Here's a Great TIP! The more you toss the spaghetti in the skillet and allow the cheese to melt and infuse into the strands of the spaghetti, the more flavorful the dish will become.
Also, if you need to add additional salty pasta water to create the creamy sauce, you can do so as needed.
Serving Size:1 serving
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 571Total Fat: 46.2gCarbohydrates: 8.3gFiber: 2.8gSugar: 4.3gProtein: 24.1g
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xo anna and liz