It’s nearly impossible to watch an episode of Searching for Italy with Stanley Tucci, and not want to make every single recipe right away. The tricky part is always deciding on which one to attempt first…
Luckily for me, Stanley and his wife admitted that they have tried to re-create this spaghetti with fried zucchini (spaghetti alla nerano) from Lo Scoglio – Amalfi Coast, almost every night since the first time they had it. If Stanley loves it this much, it has to be amazing, right? You have no idea! This recipe is so simple, yet has such an amazingly delicate flavor – it almost makes me feel like I’m on the Amalfi Coast during springtime right now 😉
Spaghetti alla Nerano (Spaghetti with Zucchini) – Searching for Italy Recipe
- 4 zucchini, medium-sized, sliced to about 1/4" thick
- 12 oz spaghetti
- sunflower oil, at least 1 inch in the Dutch oven you're using (approx 2 ½ to 3 cups)
- 2 Tablespoons butter
- 1 cup Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, finely grated (or provolone cheese)
- 2 cups pasta water, (from boiling the spaghetti)
- salt, to taste
- black pepper, to taste
- fresh basil leaves, optional, for garnish
- Heat sunflower oil in a large heavy-bottomed Dutch oven over medium-high heat.
- While waiting for the oil to heat up, slice your zucchini into medium-sized slices (about 1/4″ thick). If they are too thin, they will come out too crispy like a chip.
- Once the oil is hot enough, drop the zucchini slices in a few at a time. (Putting too many slices in at once will crowd the frying process and may cause the oil to foam up and overflow). TIP: To keep oil from splattering up onto your arm while dropping the slices in, I like to place the slices onto a slotted spoon and drop them into the oil one-by-one.
- As the slices turn a golden brown, remove them with a slotted spoon and lay them on a plate covered with some parchment paper or paper towels. Repeat this process until all of your zucchini pieces are fried.
- Cover your plate and place in the fridge overnight (or at least for 2 hours). This step will help your zucchini soften up.
- In a pot, cook your pasta with heavily salted water until al dente (this is about 1-2 minutes less than the time stated on the packaging). Drain your pasta, making sure to set aside about 2 cups of the pasta water.
- In the same pot, heat the zucchini over low heat. Slowly add some of the pasta water and continue to simmer until the zucchini starts to break up a bit. Add the butter.
- Swirl the pasta into the zucchini/butter sauce until thoroughly coated. Can add more pasta water if needed. Let the pasta and sauce warm up together for about 2 mins so that the pasta finishes cooking.
- Plate pasta and top with salt and pepper to taste, along with a generous serving of finely grated provolone. Can also garnish with basil and/or extra fried zucchini pieces.
- Feel free to add your own protein like grilled chicken or ground turkey.
If you like this post, then we definitely recommend checking out our Zucchini Pasta Bake Recipes post.