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Spaghetti with zucchini alla Nerano
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5 from 34 votes

Spaghetti with Fried Zucchini (alla Nerano)

An excellent example of a simple but exquisite vegetable pasta recipe that comes from Campania and includes ingredients typical of Neapolitan cuisine.
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time45 mins
Total Time1 hr 5 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Campania
Servings: 4
Calories: 630kcal
Author: Jacqueline Debono


  • 400 g spaghetti (14oz)
  • 700 g zucchini (24oz)
  • olive oil extra virgin
  • 2 cloves garlic peeled
  • 200 g grated Provolone cheese (7oz) preferably Provolone del Monaco or caciocavallo
  • 1 handful fresh basil leaves.
  • 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 glass 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. 
  • Dip 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.
  • 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 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.
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 and/or Parmigiano cheese as well.