Spaghetti alla Nerano Recipe (Fried Zucchini Pasta)

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Spaghetti alla Nerano Recipe (Fried Zucchini Pasta)- lightly fried zucchini nestled in creamy provolone and parmigiano cheese-covered spaghetti is a summertime love language. Enjoy this beautiful zucchini pasta for a winning lunch or dinner. Buon appetito!

Elevate your pasta recipes and make this phenomenal pasta alla nerano recipe soon! Serve with homemade ciabatta bread and focaccia bread. More pasta side dishes!

platter of final dish.plate of Spaghetti alla Nerano Recipe (Fried Zucchini Pasta).
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Authentic Italian Spaghetti alla Nerano Recipe

Spaghetti alla Nerano brings is a pasta dish with flavors from Campania, a first course in the Neapolitan culinary tradition that shines with genuine simplicity. 

The secret of the goodness of this dish lies in its incredible and appetizing creaminess and the incomparable taste of provolone cheese. While waiting to savor the typical spaghetti alla Nerano in one of the small restaurants on the Amalfi coast, I invite you to make this delicacy at home!

If you love zucchini, try: Easy Italian Zucchini Fritters, Shredded Zucchini Pasta, Sautéed Zucchini and Onion, and Cinnamon Sugar Zucchini Bread.

Spaghetti alla Nerano Recipe (Fried Zucchini Pasta) on a plate with a basil leave at the top.

Simple Ingredients

This simple pasta dish rings true to the simplicity of Italian cooking, making a beautiful and showstopping pasta dinner with only a few fresh ingredients. This is an easy pasta recipe to love!

You can also try these easy pasta recipes Authentic Italian Cacio e Pepe, Pasta with Sautéed Spinach and Garlic, Garlic with Oil Pasta, and Authentic Italian Fettuccine Alfredo.

ingredient shot for recipe.
  • Spaghetti or pasta of choice 
  • Zucchini, thinly sliced 
  • Parmigiano reggiano cheese, freshly grated
  • Provolone cheese, freshly grated
  • Fresh basil, torn by hand
  • Garlic cloves
  • Reserved pasta water
  • Salt for pasta water
  • Salt and Pepper to taste 
  • Oil for frying plus more for cooking (extra virgin olive oil or sunflower oil)

See the recipe card for quantities.

Origins of Spaghetto alla Nerano

Pasta alla Nerano is a pasta dish from Campania (Sorrento peninsula). The original recipe was created by restaurant owner Maria Grazia in the town of Nerano, 1952. The creamy texture of the sauce comes from using provolone del monaco cheese; for this recipe, any provolone variety will work.

You may have heard of this past dish from the actor Stanly Tucci who displayed an obsession with this dish on his show. Before Mr. Tucci made this dish a worldwide hit, my Italian family had long loved this simple spaghetti alla nerano recipe. We enjoy it at our beach home in Sardgna with the bounty of in-season zucchini.

This simple pasta alla nerano is popular in the Amalfi Coast, and the rest of southern and northern Italy. It is one of my favorite pasta dishes, and I know you will love I too!

More classic Italian pasta recipes: Authentic Italian Cacio e Pepe Recipe, Authentic Italian Pasta Carbonara (no cream), Mediterranean Lasagna, Pasta with Clams, and Lemon Butter Pasta Sauce (Pasta al Limone).

Spaghetti alla Nerano Recipe (Fried Zucchini Pasta) on a plate with a platter of the final dish in the background.

How to Make Spaghetti alla Nerano Recipe (Step-by-Step Photos)

This simple pasta dish is so easy to prepare! Home cooks can achieve a restaurant-quality spaghetti alla nerano dish with these simple steps and tips. Buon Apetito!

process for how to make spaghetti alla nerano-slicing the zucchini into thin slices.

process for how to make spaghetti alla nerano- adding the zucchini in hot oil to fry them.

process for how to make spaghetti alla nerano- adding the zucchini in hot oil to fry them.

process for how to make spaghetti alla nerano- removing the zucchini from hot oil with a slotted spoon. Taking out when golden brown.

process for how to make spaghetti alla nerano- removing the zucchini from hot oil and letting them drain on a paper towel to remove excess oil.

process for how to make spaghetti alla nerano- adding al dente pasta to the pan with fried zucchini and oil.

process for how to make spaghetti alla nerano- adding the cheese and stirring constantly to create a creamy sauce.

process for how to make spaghetti alla nerano- adding the cheese and stirring constantly to create a creamy sauce.

process for how to make spaghetti alla nerano- adding the cheese and stirring constantly to create a creamy sauce.
plate of Spaghetti alla Nerano Recipe (Fried Zucchini Pasta) on a plate with a basil leaf on the top.

Variations

While Spaghetti alla Nerano traditionally includes fried zucchini, garlic, basil, Provolone cheese, and Parmigiano or Parmesan cheese, there are several variations you can make to the recipe to suit your taste preferences. Here are some popular variations:

  • Adding pancetta or bacon: Adding crispy pancetta or bacon to the dish can add a smoky flavor to the pasta.
  • Using different vegetables: You can use other vegetables instead of or in addition to zucchini. For example, add sautéed mushrooms, cherry tomatoes, or roasted peppers to the pasta.
  • Making it creamier: You can add a splash of heavy cream or crème fraîche to the sauce for a creamier version.
  • Using different pasta shapes: While spaghetti or linguine are the traditional pasta shapes for this dish, you can use other shapes like penne or fusilli for a different texture.
  • Making it vegetarian or vegan: You can make Spaghetti alla Nerano vegetarian or vegan by omitting the Provolone and Parmesan cheese or using a vegan alternative (you may not achieve the same creaminess in the sauce). You can also substitute the fried zucchini with eggplant or another vegetable.
  • Adding fresh herbs: Adding fresh herbs, parsley, or oregano can enhance the dish’s flavor and add a pop of color.

These are just a few examples of variations to Spaghetti alla Nerano. Experiment with different ingredients and find your own unique twist on this classic Italian dish. See this recipe to know How Long to Boil Spaghetti (pasta)- Perfect Every Time.

Equipment

Storage

If you have leftover spaghetti alla Nerano, there are a few things you can do to store it properly:

  1. Let it cool: Allow the spaghetti to cool to room temperature before storing it. This will prevent condensation inside the container and keep the pasta from becoming mushy.
  2. Store in an airtight container: Transfer the spaghetti alla Nerano to an airtight container with a lid. Make sure that the container is suitable for storing food in the refrigerator.
  3. Refrigerate promptly: Put the container in the refrigerator as soon as possible after cooking. Leftovers should be stored within two hours of cooking to prevent bacteria growth.
  4. Reheat thoroughly: When reheating the spaghetti, make sure it is heated thoroughly. The easiest way is to reheat it in the microwave or in a pan on the stovetop, adding a splash of water or broth to prevent it from drying out.
  5. Eat within 3-4 days: Leftover spaghetti alla Nerano should be eaten within 3-4 days.

Following these tips, you can safely store and enjoy your leftover spaghetti alla Nerano for a few more meals.

Top tips

  1. Use high-quality ingredients: The key to making a great Spaghetti alla Nerano is to use the freshest and highest quality ingredients. Use freshly grated Parmesan cheese, ripe zucchini, and fresh basil.
  2. Pasta quality: Use spaghetti or linguine pasta for this dish, as they are the traditional choices. Cook the pasta al dente with a slight bite, then finish cooking in the pan with the zucchini and cheese.
  3. Fry the zucchini properly: To get its crispy texture cut it into thin slices and fry it until golden brown. I highly recommend using a mandoline.
  4. Garnish with fresh basil: The final touch is adding fresh basil to the pasta. This adds a fresh and aromatic flavor to the dish.
  5. Coat the pasta in the sauce: Mix well to ensure that the pasta is coated evenly.
Spaghetti alla Nerano Recipe (Fried Zucchini Pasta) on a plate with a platter of the final dish in the background.

FAQs

How do I prevent the zucchini from becoming soggy?

To prevent the zucchini from becoming soggy, make sure to cut it into thin slices and fry it until golden brown. Also, do not overcrowd the pan when frying.

Where does Spaghetti alla Nerano come from?

Spaghetti alla Nerano is a traditional Italian pasta dish that originates from the town of Nerano on the Amalfi coast in Southern Italy. This is the most authentic recipe you can find that resembles the original dish.

Can I freeze Spaghetti alla Nerano?

It’s not recommended to freeze Spaghetti alla Nerano as the texture may become mushy when reheated. Spaghetti alla Nerano is so easy to make you can whip it up whenever you crave this easy pasta dish.

More delicious pasta recipes:

What to Serve with Spaghetti alla Nerano Recipe (Fried Zucchini Pasta)

Try these dishes to serve with Fried Zucchini Pasta:

Make sure to leave a ⭐️star rating on the recipe card and comment below if you make the recipe. I love to connect with you through my recipes.

I would love for you to tag me on Instagram @cucinabyelena so I can see your delicious Italian recipes. To get more ideas, follow me on Pinterest.

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Spaghetti alla Nerano Recipe (Fried Zucchini Pasta)

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5 from 2 reviews

Spaghetti alla Nerano Recipe (Fried Zucchini Pasta)- lightly fried zucchini nestled in creamy provolone and parmigiano cheese-covered spaghetti is a summertime love language. 

  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 46 servings 1x

Ingredients

Units Scale
  • 400 grams of spaghetti, or pasta of choice
  • 5 small fresh zucchini, thinly sliced (or 3 large zucchini)
  • 1/4 cup parmigiano cheese, freshly grated
  • 1 cup provolone cheese, freshly grated
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, torn by hand
  • 2 garlic cloves, whole
  • reserved pasta water
  • Salt for pasta water
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • Oil for frying + 4 tablespoons for cooking (olive oil or sunflower oil)

Instructions

  1. Thinly slice the zucchini with a mandoline or sharp knife. Set out a plate lined with paper towels and set it aside.
  2. Finely grate the provolone and parmigiano cheese. Set the grated cheese aside. 
  3. In a deep pan or skillet, add the oil and ensure it is very hot before adding the zucchini. Fry the zucchini in batches in plenty of hot olive oil until golden. Remove with a slotted spoon, drain on a paper towel, and sprinkle the zucchini with torn basil leaves and salt.
  4. In a large frying pan, on medium heat, sauté the garlic cloves in a pan with 4 tablespoons of oil (about 1 minute). Remove the garlic and add the fried zucchini. Reserve a few sliced zucchini for garnish. Turn off the heat. 
  5. Cook the spaghetti in a large pot of water. Bring it to a boil and salt generously. Cook according to package instructions until al dente. Drain once al dente, setting aside 3/4 cup pasta cooking water.
  6. Add the drained spaghetti, half of the reserved pasta cooking water, and half the provolone to the pan with zucchini in the hot pan. Stir continuously as you add the rest of the pasta cooking water, the remaining provolone, and parmigiano cheese, mixing until it forms a creamy sauce- this may take a couple of minutes of stirring. If needed, turn the heat to low to warm up the cheese a bit. 
  7. Serve immediately with a generous amount of freshly ground pepper, extra cheese, and a few fried zucchini slices on top.

Notes

Top tips

    • Use high-quality ingredients: The key to making a great Spaghetti alla Nerano is to use the freshest and highest quality ingredients. Use freshly grated Parmesan cheese, ripe zucchini, and fresh basil.

    • Pasta quality: Use spaghetti or linguine pasta for this dish, as they are the traditional choices. Cook the pasta al dente with a slight bite, then finish cooking in the pan with the zucchini and cheese.

    • Fry the zucchini properly: To get its crispy texture cut thin slices of zucchini approximately all the same size and fry it until golden brown. I highly recommend using a mandoline.

  • Author: Elena
  • Prep Time: 10 min
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Category: Savory
  • Method: Italian
  • Cuisine: Italian

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About Elena

My dream is to share delicious wholesome recipes that you will share around the table with all your loved ones. The memories surrounded by food are the heart and soul of CucinaByElena.

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4 Comments

  1. Fantastic! I saw the Tucci episode where this was featured and thought it fantastic. I fried zucchini in shallow oil in skillet as I do not care to deep fry anything. Caterpillars ate my basil overnight, so used pesto. new stand of basil coming on. Will be making this often.
    Glad to find this recipe.