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Spaghetti alla Nerano: A Taste of the Amalfi Coast

Spaghetti alla Nerano on a white decorative plate

Spaghetti alla Nerano is a delightful dish hailing from the picturesque town of Nerano on the Amalfi Coast in Italy. This pasta recipe is a true testament to the magic of simple ingredients, where the flavors of fresh zucchini, aromatic basil, and creamy cheese come together to create a dish that is both comforting and elegant. Perfect for a summer meal, Spaghetti alla Nerano is easy to prepare and sure to impress.


To make this delicious pasta, you will need the following ingredients:

  • 400g (14 oz) spaghetti
  • 6-7 medium-sized zucchini
  • 100g (3.5 oz) grated Provolone del Monaco cheese (or a mix of Provolone and Parmesan)
  • A handful of fresh basil leaves
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • Vegetable oil for frying


1. Prepare the Zucchini

  • Slice the Zucchini: Begin by washing the zucchini thoroughly. Slice them into thin rounds, approximately 3-4 mm thick.

  • Fry the Zucchini: In a large skillet or frying pan, heat a generous amount of vegetable oil over medium-high heat. Fry the zucchini slices in batches until they are golden brown. This should take about 5-7 minutes per batch. Remove the fried zucchini with a slotted spoon and place them on paper towels to drain the excess oil.

  • Season the Zucchini: While the zucchini are still warm, season them with a pinch of salt and set them aside.

2. Cook the Pasta

  • Boil the Spaghetti: Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the spaghetti and cook according to the package instructions until it is al dente. Reserve a cup of the pasta cooking water before draining the spaghetti.

3. Combine and Finish

  • Sauté the Garlic: In a large pan, heat a few tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil over medium heat. Add the chopped garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 1-2 minutes. Be careful not to burn the garlic.
  • Add the Zucchini: Add the fried zucchini slices to the pan with the garlic. Stir gently to combine and heat through.
  • Mix in the Pasta: Add the cooked spaghetti to the pan with the zucchini and garlic. Toss everything together, adding a little of the reserved pasta water to help create a creamy sauce.

  • Cheese and Basil: Sprinkle the grated Provolone del Monaco (or the mix of Provolone and Parmesan) over the pasta. Continue tossing the pasta until the cheese melts and creates a silky sauce. Tear the fresh basil leaves and add them to the pasta, giving it one last toss.

4. Serve

  • Plate the Pasta: Divide the Spaghetti alla Nerano among serving plates or bowls.

  • Garnish: Garnish with a few extra basil leaves and a final drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.

  • Enjoy: Serve immediately and enjoy this delightful taste of the Amalfi Coast!

Tips for the Perfect Spaghetti alla Nerano

  • Choose Fresh Ingredients: The quality of the ingredients makes a big difference in this simple dish. Use fresh, firm zucchini, high-quality cheese, and aromatic basil.
  • Frying the Zucchini: Don't overcrowd the pan when frying the zucchini. Fry them in batches to ensure they cook evenly and become golden brown.
  • Pasta Water: The reserved pasta water is crucial for achieving the right consistency for the sauce. It contains starch that helps to bind the cheese and oil together.

Spaghetti alla Nerano is a beautiful example of Italian cuisine's ability to turn humble ingredients into something extraordinary. With its creamy cheese sauce, fresh zucchini, and aromatic basil, this dish is perfect for any occasion. Whether you're enjoying a quiet dinner at home or entertaining guests, Spaghetti alla Nerano will transport your taste buds straight to the sun-drenched Amalfi Coast. Buon appetito!

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