Go Back
spaghetti alla nerano
Print Recipe
5 from 43 votes

Spaghetti with Fried Zucchini (spaghetti alla Nerano)

Spaghetti alla Nerano made famous by Stanley Tucci in his Searching for Italy series is an excellent example of a simple but exquisite vegetable pasta recipe from Southern Italy. It includes ingredients typical of Neapolitan cuisine and is very easy to make!
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Total Time35 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Campania, Mediterranean, Neapolitan, Southern Italian
Keyword: alla Nerano, zucchini pasta
Servings: 4
Calories: 559kcal
Author: Jacqui


  • 400 g spaghetti (14oz)
  • 700 g zucchini (24oz)
  • olive oil extra virgin
  • 2 cloves garlic peeled
  • 100 g grated Provolone cheese (3.5oz) preferably Provolone del Monaco or caciocavallo (see notes)
  • 1 handful fresh basil leaves. washed and torn into pieces
  • salt for pasta and to taste
  • pepper to taste


  • Wash and cut the zucchini into thin slices, then fry them in extra virgin olive oil until browned.
  • Once fried, put the slices on paper towels to remove the excess oil.
  • Meanwhile boil the pasta in plenty of lightly salted water until al dente and drain, keeping aside a cup of the cooking water.
  • Heat some more olive oil in a frying pan with the 2 garlic cloves and cook taking care not to burn the garlic. 
  • Immerse the zucchini slices in boiling water for 4 or 5 seconds, then cream 1/3 of them either by mashing through a sieve or briefly liquidizing in a food blender with some of the pasta cooking water.
  • Remove the garlic and add the cream of zucchini and the zucchini slices to the pan and then stir in the cooked spaghetti. If the dish appears too dry add some of the saved pasta cooking water. Continue to stir over a low heat for a minute.
  • Remove the pan from the heat, stir in the grated provolone until it starts to melt and become creamy. Season with a sprinkling of pepper and salt as required, Serve decorated with the basil leaves cut into pieces and some extra grated provolone to taste.


Spaghetti is the traditional pasta for this recipe but other long pasta such as linguine work well too.
Although the original recipe I followed calls for Provolone del Monaco, this cheese isn’t available everywhere, However there are other spicy provolone cheeses produced in Northern Italy and even in America which can be used instead. You can also use caciocavallo or parmigiano. Vegetarians should use a vegetarian parmesan or provolone.
Like many Italian pasta recipes there are slightly different versions of alla Nerano. Not all include creaming part of the fried zucchini and some add butter to the dish before serving.