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Spaghetti alla Nerano Recipe (Fried Zucchini Pasta)

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: 4-6 servings 1x


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)


  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.


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

Keywords: zucchini pasta, fried zucchini, pasta alla nerano, Italian recipe