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Spaghetti alla Nerano

This “life-changing” and “unbelievable” pasta dish was made famous during a segment on Stanley Tucci’s Searching for Italy, and when we made this we could definitely see why!



12 ounces spaghetti

3 medium zucchini

4 ounces grated Provolone cheese

2 ounces finely grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese

1 clove garlic, minced

1/2 cup olive oil, plus more as necessary

1 teaspoon salt, plus extra for pasta water

Fresh basil leaves

Black pepper, as desired


Slice zucchini into thin rounds a little over 1/16 inch. Use a mandoline slicer to make quick work of this, if you have one.

Pour olive oil into a large skillet and heat over medium heat. There should be about 1/4 inch of oil in the pan. Add more oil if necessary. Fry zucchini slices in olive oil until lightly browned. It's best to do this in batches so the zucchini will fry evenly. Once browned, remove zucchini to a lined plate to soak up excess oil. Salt zucchini lightly. Repeat this process until all zucchini are fried. Set aside until needed. Drain the oil from the pan, reserving 1 tablespoon for later.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add spaghetti and cook until pasta is just under al dente.

While the pasta is cooking, heat the reserved 1 tablespoon of oil in a pan, then sauté the garlic until fragrant. Add the fried zucchini and a handful of torn basil leaves. Add 1 cup of pasta water and cook until spaghetti is ready.

When the spaghetti is ready, use tongs to grab the pasta and add it straight to the skillet of zucchini. Stir well, adding more pasta water if necessary. Stirring will make the mixture creamy and create a light sauce.

Remove the skillet from heat, then add the cheeses and stir to melt. Add more pasta water if the consistency becomes clumpy from the cheeses. Add more torn basil leaves and black pepper to taste.

Serve and garnish with basil and Parmesan. Enjoy!

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