fried zucchini pasta

FRIED ZUCCHINI PASTA (Spaghetti alla Nerano)

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Fried Zucchini pasta known as “Spaghetti alla Nerano” is a classic example of a local dish. It was born in the small fishing village of Nerano back in 1952 thanks to Maria Grazia and became famous because it was served in her family restaurant (and it still is)! The complete recipe has never been revealed, but this is an authentic local take and sure tastes like a plate of Italy to me combining fresh zucchini and basil along with delicious cheese. The creamy sauce and aroma of basil work so well together and infuse the zucchini with the most delectable flavour…now all we need is a beautiful sea view..!

Watch How to Make SPAGHETTI ALLA NERANO video recipe:

How to Make FRIED ZUCCHINI PASTA Like an Italian (Spaghetti alla Nerano)

fried zucchini pasta

300g/10.6oz spaghetti
600g/21oz zucchini
Bunch fresh basil
1 garlic clove
3 tablespoons Pecorino Romano cheese (or Parmigiano Reggiano)
150g/5.3oz (3/4 cup) Provolone Dolce cheese
Extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) – (LOTS!)

1 large fry pan
1 medium size pot (for frying)
1 large pot
Wooden spoon
Chopping board
Hand sieve or colander

fried zucchini pasta recipe


  1. Fried zucchini pasta requires perfectly cut zucchini, so this is the best place to start! Cut off both ends of the zucchini and discard.
  2. Place each zucchini on the chopping board and start to slice round discs from one end to the other. They need to be quite thin and as even as possible.

VINCENZO’S PLATE TIP: Take your time when cutting! You can even use a mandala cutter if you have one for extra precision!

  1. Put 5L water into your large pot and put on the stove at a high heat. This will be used to boil your pasta.
  2. Place a small pot on the stove at a medium heat and add extra virgin olive oil. Heat this up and test if the temperature is correct by putting a small piece of zucchini into the oil – if it bubbles, the oil is ready!
  3. Add a scoop full of zucchini (not too many!) to your pot and fry until golden brown. Ensure they are all cooked through by gently stirring them every so often.

VINCENZO’S PLATE TIP: The zucchini will take no longer than 5 – 7 minutes but cooking time varies based on how thin your slices are.

  1. Line a plate with kitchen paper and fresh basil leaves, then strain the zucchini onto this so that the flavours infuse and you also get rid of excess oil.
  2. Repeat until all of your zucchini are fried and ready lining the paper towel with basil each time.
  3. The water for your fried zucchini pasta should be boiling by now – add a tablespoon of rock salt and allow to dissolve then add your pasta and cook it according to the packet instructions.
  4. Freshly grate 150g/5.3oz provolone cheese and leave on a plate to the side.
  5. Once the pasta is almost ready, put a frypan on your stove and turn the heat to a medium level before adding 3-4 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil.
  6. While this is warming up, add a garlic clove, squashing it with your hands or by firmly pressing down on it using one side of a large knife.
  7. Approx 1-2 minutes before your pasta is ready add the zucchini and basil prepared earlier to the pan and mix them around to slightly moisten them again.
  8. Just before you strain the pasta, collect some of the water using a mug and put it to the side.
  9. Now, remove the garlic clove, then strain the pasta and add it to your pan along with a generous amount (approx. 2/3 mug) of pasta water.
  10. Combine this using a set of tongs until all of the ingredients have mixed through – make sure you still have the heat on, but keep it quite low.
  11. Once this has infused well, turn off the stove and add 3 tablespoons of Pecorino cheese along with more fresh basil leaves.
  12. Combine this really well and if you can, toss it together to create an incredible creamy textured sauce for your fried zucchini pasta dish!
  13. Next, add the provolone cheese along with the remaining pasta water and combine once again.
  14. If you’re worried about the cheese sticking to the bottom, add a little more pasta water and mix through again.

VINCENZO’S PLATE TIP: If you can, toss the pasta while in the pan as this will create the most incredible cream and really add the perfect texture to your dish. In Italian, this is called “mantecare”. If you’re not good at doing this quickly, just mix through after a few tries so the pasta remains hot and the cheese doesn’t stick!

spaghetti alla nerano stanley tucci

Add a portion of the fried zucchini pasta to a plate and scoop up some extra zucchini and basil, not to mention creamy sauce so that when you serve your dish it is completely infused by every ingredient from the pan.

spaghetti alla nerano recipe

E ora si mangia Vincenzo’s Plate….Enjoy!

vincenzo's plate

If you love Zucchini you should try these 2 recipes:

zucchini fritters recipe

pesto pasta

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