Pasta alla Nerano

Dinner, Pasta

Pasta alla Nerano is a quick and simple summer pasta dish. It’s the perfect thing to make if you have a surplus of zucchini. The sauce is light and delicious and yet flavorful due to the two different types of cheese.

What Is Pasta Alla Nerano

Pasta alla Nerano is a Italian summer pasta that hails from the Sorrentine peninsula. There’s an area actually called Nerano! Story has it that its origins are from a restaurant in the Nerano region where chef Maria Grazia served this pasta starting in the 1950s.

There are a few ways to make this dish. Some don’t blend it up; they simply fry the zucchini, pour the pasta water on top, along with the spaghetti and cheese. But I saw another method that blended it all up into a sauce and felt like that might be more my jam.

How to Make Pasta Alla Nerano

  1. In a skillet, set over medium-high heat, add the olive oil. When it’s hot, add the garlic clove. This is going to infuse the oil with garlic.
  2. Then, add in the sliced zucchini, in one even layer. Some zucchini will get crispy, others will get soft. All good.
  3. Allow to fry for about 3 to 5 minutes. Remove the zucchini and transfer to a bed of paper towels or clean kitchen towel. Reserve a few of the crispy zucchini slices for garnish.
  4. Bring a pot of water to a boil. Add some salt and drop in the spaghetti. Cook it until it’s al dente, about 9 minutes. Reserve about 1 cup of pasta water. We’re gonna need this for our sauce.
  5. For this next step, you can use a food processor or very small blender. OR you can use a mason jar and immersion blender (like I did). Add the zucchini, two cheeses, a handful of basil and pasta water. Pulse until very smooth.
  6. Add the drained and cooked pasta to a bowl. Toss with the sauce, a splash or two of pasta water, if you need it, a few torn basil leaves and some freshly ground pepper. Toss until completely coated.
  7. Plate it up and top with some crispy zucchini slices and some more cheese, if you like.

Tips and Tricks

  • You can use yellow squash OR zucchini. But I wouldn’t combine them because I fear the color might be a little unattractive.
  • If you can’t find aged provolone, feel free to substitute it with Parmesan-Reggiano. I tried to use smoked gouda (what was I thinking?) and it didn’t taste that great.
  • I have made this dish with spaghetti and another pasta shape–similar to penne—and it was wonderful.

If you make this recipe, let me know on Instagram!

Looking for more recipes? Here are a few I love!

Pasta alla Nerano

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5 from 2 votes
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Assembly Time 3 minutes
Total Time: 33 minutes
Serving Size: 2
Calories: 275kcal

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled
  • 2 small zucchini, ends trimmed and cut into 1/4-inch slices
  • Kosher salt
  • 1/2 pound spaghetti
  • 1 cup reserved pasta water
  • 1 ounce aged provolone, finely grated
  • 1 ounce pecorino romano, finely grated
  • 1 handful of basil leaves, divided
  • Freshly ground pepper

Directions

  • In a medium skillet, set over medium-high heat, add the olive oil. When hot, add the garlic clove. This will infuse the oil with the garlic. Add the sliced zucchini in one even layer and fry for 3 to 5 minutes. Some will get crispy and browned and others won’t. It’s all good either way. Transfer the zucchini to a paper towel or clean kitchen towel. Reserve a few of the crispy zucchini slices.
  • Bring a pot of water to a boil. When it reaches a boil, add a few pinches of salt. It might boil up a bit so beware. Add the spaghetti (or pasta of choice) and cook until al dente, about 9 minutes. Reserve 1 cup of pasta water and set aside. Drain the pasta.
  • Meanwhile, in a mason jar, using an immersion blender, add the zucchini, pecorino romano, parmesan, about 1/4 cup of pasta water, and a handful of basil leaves. Pulse until very smooth. Give it a taste and adjust the salt to your liking. If it needs more pasta water, don't be shy to add a splash or two.
  • Add the drained pasta to a bowl. Top it with the sauce, a few rounds of black pepper and a handful of torn basil leaves. Give it a mix and add a splash of pasta water to loosen it up even more. Toss until thoroughly combined. Divide amongst bowls and top with a few more basil leaves and the reserved zucchini slices.

Notes

Tips and Tricks: 
  • You can use yellow squash OR zucchini. But I wouldn’t combine them because I fear the color might be a little unattractive.
  • If you can’t find aged provolone, feel free to substitute it with Parmesan-Reggiano. I tried to use smoked gouda (what was I thinking?) and it didn’t taste that great.
  • I have made this dish with spaghetti and another pasta shape--similar to penne—and it was wonderful.
 
CourseDinner
CuisineAmerican, Italian
Keyworditalian pasta, summer pasta, zucchine pasta, zucchini pasta
Serving: 2g | Calories: 275kcal | Carbohydrates: 48g | Protein: 12g | Fat: 22g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 7mg | Sodium: 28mg | Potassium: 84mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 34IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 245mg | Iron: 2mg
Did you make this Recipe? Tag me Today!Tag @acozykitchen on Instagram and hashtag it #acozykitchen

 

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  • Reply Vivian September 13, 2020 at 10:25 pm

    Hi! Random question… any chance you could share where those bowls are from? (the ones shown in this picture) I love the look of them. Thank you!

  • Reply Aryaman Sharda August 18, 2020 at 8:44 pm

    5 stars
    Thank you for such a wonderful recipe! Having more time in quarantine to cook, I love finding a completely new recipe to try out. If anyone else is running low on new recipes to try, I’d suggest this newsletter – it has a much wider range of cuisines so I still have to “vegan-ize” them, but it’s manageable I’ve bookmarked A Cozy Kitchen and will be coming back every week 🙂

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