Spaghetti alla Nerano is a simple pasta dish made with spaghetti and fried zucchini in a light cheese sauce. This dish has simple ingredients but is packed with delicious flavors!
Spaghetti alla Nerano will become one of your favorite pasta dishes!
This pasta dish has become popular thanks to it's feature in a Stanley Tucci episode on his show, Searching for Italy.
Spaghetti alla Nerano is a dish created in the Sorrento peninsula of the Amalfi coast in Southern Italy. The exact recipe is top secret, so there are many variations of the dish.
Even though the original recipe is a secret, the recipe involves cooked spaghetti, fried courgettes (zucchini), grated semi-hard cheese, basil, and pasta water tossed together to create a silky, creamy sauce, similar to cacio e Pepe.
The dish is light, simple, and delicious! I love serving this for entertaining or for a date night at home. This dish is great year round, but it's especially delicious during zucchini season made with seasonal ingredients.
Why You'll Love this Recipe
Delicious - This easy pasta recipe is so delicious. Each bite is packed with flavor that your family will truly love! It's really a perfect dish for the whole family. Great for entertaining too!
Approachable - This recipe is approachable and is easy to make. You only need a few kitchen tools to make this great recipe. The best part of this pasta recipe is easy enough to make for a weeknight, but also fancy-feeling enough to make for a date night!
Easy - This dish looks like it came from the kitchen of a restaurant, but is so easy to make for any home cook!
Here are the simple ingredients you will need for this recipe:
- Sunflower Oil - You can also substitute with olive oil
- Garlic Clove - Whole garlic cloves
- Zucchini - Choose smaller, light green zucchini for more flavor! Slice into thin coins for delicious fried zucchini rounds
- Kosher Salt
- Black Pepper - Freshly cracked
- Spaghetti - Always use good quality pasta!
- Unsalted Butter
- Parmesan Cheese - You can also use pecorino Romano cheese
- Fresh Basil Leaves
Let's make this recipe together!
Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil. Don't forget to salt the water!
In a large, deep skillet, add sunflower oil and garlic cloves over medium heat. Cook until the garlic cloves are golden and sizzling, about 2 minutes. Remove garlic cloves from the skillet and add zucchini. Do not discard the oil in the skillet.
Add zucchini to the skillet. Lightly fry thin slices of zucchini for 8-10 minutes, tossing until they are tender and golden brown. Cook zucchini in a single layer, working in batches if necessary.
Remove cooked zucchini from the skillet and set on a plate. Keep excess oil in the frying pan.
Add spaghetti to the pot. Cook until very al dente, about 6 minutes. While pasta is cooking, heat the skillet over medium heat. Add 2 cups pasta water to the skillet and bring to a simmer.
When spaghetti is al dente, transfer the cooked pasta to the skillet directly with tongs. Add fried zucchini slices, butter, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Use tongs to vigorously stir.
Remove from heat. Slowly add grated cheese and basil to the pan. Continue to stir until the cheese is melted and the sauce is silky. Top with additional basil and cheese and serve. Buon appetito!
Expert Tips and Tricks
Here are some expert tips to make this delicious pasta dish perfect.
Complete the Meal - Complete the meal with an arugula salad and a glass of white wine!
Utilize Leftovers - Use leftovers for meal prep. Add grilled chicken and a handful of spinach or arugula for a delicious prepared lunch for the entire family!
Toss the Sauce - Use tongs to toss the sauce for a few minutes to create the silky texture this dish is known for. If the cheese is clumping, simply add more pasta water a few tablespoons at a time and keep tossing until the sauce comes together.
Here is some kitchen equipment you will need for this recipe. You can find all of these products on Amazon.
Large Skillet - You'll want a high quality large skillet with enough room to make the sauce and add the pasta.
Pasta Bowl - I love serving pasta in good quality pasta bowls. They're perfect for a variety of dishes, so they're super versatile!
Tongs - I use tongs every day in my kitchen. Here's a great set that will last.
Here are some common recipe substitutions and variations for this easy recipe.
Oil - You can substitute sunflower oil with olive oil. I don't recommend using extra virgin olive oil or butter because both of these fats can easily burn and affect the flavor of the dish.
Cheese - There are many different options for cheese in this recipe. My version of this dish calls for grated parmesan cheese, but you can find many recipes that call for Provolone di Monaco, smoked shredded provolone cheese, or a mix of cheese. Any of these options would be great in this recipe.
Zucchini - There are some recipes that call for creating the sauce with immersion blended zucchini, or making the zucchini the day before.
What To Serve With
Here are some easy recipes to serve this Spaghetti alla Nerano recipe with:
- Baked Jumbo Shrimp
- Baked Salmon Steaks
- Spinach Stuffed Salmon
- Oven Baked Chicken Leg Quarters
- Seared Filet Medallions
- Chicken Limone
- Pistachio Crusted Salmon
- Broccolini with Whipped Goat Cheese
Frequently Asked Questions
Nerano is a small town in the Amalfi coast in southern Italy. Spaghetti alla Nerano is a dish originating from this town that features spaghetti and zucchini in a light cheese sauce.
Courgette means zucchini in French.
Recipe Storage and Reheating
Here are storage and reheating instructions for this recipe.
Refrigerator Storage: Store in an airtight continuer and eat leftovers within 4-5 days.
Freezer Storage: Freeze in a freezer-safe, airtight container and keep for up to 3 months. When you're ready to use, thaw in the refrigerator and reheat as instructed below.
Reheating Instructions: The best way to reheat this recipe is to heat in a skillet with a little olive oil over low heat until warm.
Other Recipes to Try
Spaghetti alla Nerano
- ½ cup Sunflower oil
- 2 large garlic cloves
- 4 small zucchini sliced into thin rounds
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 lb spaghetti
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1 cup Parmesan cheese plus more for serving
- Fresh torn basil leaves plus more for serving
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
- In a large, deep skillet, add sunflower oil and garlic cloves over medium heat. Cook until the garlic cloves golden and sizzling, about 2 minutes. Remove garlic cloves from the skillet and add zucchini. Do not discard the oil in the skillet.
- Add zucchini to the skillet. Lightly fry zucchini for 8-10 minutes, tossing until they are tender and golden. Remove zucchini from the skillet and set on a plate.
- Add spaghetti to the pot. Cook until very al dente, about 6 minutes. While pasta is cooking, heat the skillet over medium heat. Add 2 cups pasta water to the skillet and bring to a simmer.
- When pasta is al dente, transfer the spaghetti to the skillet directly with tongs. Add zucchini, butter, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Use tongs to vigorously stir.
- Remove from heat. Slowly add Parmesan cheese and basil to the pan. Continue to stir until the cheese is melted and the sauce is silky. Top with additional basil and cheese and serve.