Spaghetti alla Nerano (Fried zucchini pasta)

Spaghetti alla Nerano is a traditional italian pasta dish made with fried zucchini and cheese. So creamy, savory and easy to make that this recipe will become one of your favorites!

Spaghetti alla Nerano on a plate.

What is spaghetti alla Nerano?

The dish pasta alla Nerano was served for the first time in the 50’s in the small bay town of Nerano, in the sorrentine peninsula. The ristorante da Maria Grazia invented this amazing pasta recipe using local and seasonal ingredientes such as zucchini and cheese Provolone del Monaco.

These two ingredientes altogether creates a delicious creamy sauce that is beyond deliciousness! But not only, the recipe is also pretty simple and quick to make, becoming one of the favorite Italian recipes.

Two plates with Spaghetti all Nerano garnished with fried zucchini and some basil leaves.

Ingredients for pasta alla Nerano

  • ZUCCHINI – try to use a mandoline to slice them. Zucchini need to be as thin as possible so they won’t absorb so much oil. When frying, add them in small batches so they won’t overlap and prevent it from frying evenly.
  • CHEESE – The traditional recipe calls for Provolone del Monaco, a spicy semi-hard cheese from the Sorrento peninsula. However, this cheese has a DOP status. which means is not so easy (or cheap) to find it outside Italy.  If you can’t find Provolone del Monaco, use another semi-hard provolone or caciocavallo.
  • BASIL – Don’t chop it, instead, tear the leaves with your hands, right away when you need it in the recipe.
  • PASTA – Spaghetti is the first choice just as the name of this dish indicates. You can add any kind of spaghetti, just make sure don’t over cook them as they need to finish the cooking in the pan with the condiment.
  • OIL – The traditional recipe is made with extra virgin olive oil. But of course, is up to you. You can also use a normal olive oil, specially if extra virgin is expensive where you live or not so easy to find.
  • GARLIC – Lightly smashed with the skin on. You need only a subtle aroma, so discard it after, as the recipe suggest.
  • SALT – Remember that cheese adds salt as well, so pay attention to not add so much extra.
  • PEPPER – Just a little bit right before serving, freshly grounded.
The ingredients for the recipe labeled and displayed on a marble surface.

How to make Nerano Spaghetti – step by step

Start by grating the cheeses and set aside. Using a mandoline slicer, slice finely the zucchini and place in a plate.

Zucchini finely sliced on a plate.

In a deep frying pan heat a good amount of extra virgin olive oil over medium heat and fry zucchini until slightly browned. Make sure you work in small batches, as they can burn easily.

Frying zucchini with oil on a pan.

Place fried zucchini on a paper towel-lined plate to drain oil. Once all zucchini are done, sprinkle with a pinch of salt and a few hand-torn basil leaves.

Fried zucchini on a plate with paper.

Bring to boil a large pot of water. Add salt and cook the spaghetti until very al dente accordingly to the package instructions.

While the pasta is cooking, heat 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil in a sauté pan over medium-high heat. Stir the garlic until fragrant, then remove it from the pan.

Add zucchini to the pan, reserving some for garnish. Pour a ladleful or two of the cooking water and stir in the zucchini, mix for two minutes to rehydrate the vegetables.

Zucchini rehydrating on the pan.

Add pasta and the cheeses, pour another ladleful of cooking water, more hand-torn basil and turn off the heat.

Adding hand-torn basil to the pan.

Mix (mantecate) spaghetti alla Nerano thoroughly for one more minute or until the cheese has melted and turned into a creamy sauce that perfectly coats the pasta.

Coating the spaghetti with the condiment right on the pan.

Place spaghetti on a serving plate. Top with the remaining zucchini, a little bit of pepper and more grated parmigiano reggiano. And there you go, your spaghetti alla Nerano are ready to be enjoyed!

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Watch How To Make It

This “spaghetti alla Nerano” recipe was first published in July 13, 2020. It has been updated with more useful information for our visitors.

spaghetti alla nerano

Spaghetti alla Nerano

Spaghetti alla Nerano is made with a simple, creamy zucchini sauce and cheese.
PREP 10 minutes
COOK 20 minutes
TOTAL 30 minutes
5 from 4 votes
Print Pin Rate
Servings: 2
Author: Maricruz

Ingredients 

  • 6.5 oz spaghetti
  • 2 medium zucchini (tiny sliced)
  • cup Provolone del Monaco cheese or Caciocavallo (grated)
  • 2 ½ Tbsp Parmigiano Reggiano cheese (grated)
  • Basil
  • 1 garlic clove (slightly smashed and with the skin on)
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt & pepper (as needed)

Instructions

  • In a deep frying pan heat a good amount of olive oil over medium heat and fry the zucchini until they’re brown, a few slices at time. Place zucchini on a paper towel-lined plate to drain oil.
  • Once the zucchini are done sprinkle with a pinch of salt and a few hand-torn basil leaves.
  • Bring to boil a large pot of water. Add salt and cook the spaghetti until very al dente accordingly to the package instructions.
  • While the pasta is cooking, heat 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil in a sauté pan over medium-high heat. Stir the garlic until fragrant, then remove it from the pan.
  • Add zucchini to the pan, reserving some for garnish. Pour a ladleful of the cooking water and stir on the zucchini, mix and cook -over medium heat- for one minute to rehydrate the zucchini.
  • Add pasta and the cheeses, add another ladleful of cooking water, more hand-torn basil and turn off the heat.
  • Mix thoroughly  for one more minute or until the cheese has melted and turned into a creamy sauce that coats perfectly the pasta.
  • Place spaghetti on a serving plate. Top with the remaining zucchini, pepper and more grated parmigiano reggiano.
Nutrition
Calories: 556kcal | Carbohydrates: 77g | Protein: 28g | Fat: 15g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 35mg | Sodium: 507mg | Potassium: 790mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 828IU | Vitamin C: 36mg | Calcium: 460mg | Iron: 2mg
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Recipe Rating




5 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I think is very important to know a little bit about the background or history of each plate. My honest opinion is that it has a great flavor, but is indeed a bit tricky to slice the zucchini, I actually did a few attempts, and it takes some practice to get it right! The texture is great and I couldn’t choose the star ingredient but garlic and pepper did an awesome job!

  2. 5 stars
    Zucchini and cheese, lets look no more. This has to be the ultimate summer pasta! Love it, gonna make it for tonights dinner, even tho I’ll use another type of cheese. Wish me luck!

  3. 5 stars
    wonderful dish! We had this in our honeymoon trip many years ago. Oh the memories…! Thanks for bring it this back to us.