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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62 Comments

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Recipe Rating




  • Reply kjpugs September 21, 2010 at 7:33 pm

    This recipe looks AWESOME! One question though- did you layer the peices of zucchini on top of one another when putting them in to bake? It says to continue with the layers but I wasn’t sure if you meant layering on cheese/basil etc, or if you stacked them to fit ’em all in a pan.

    Can’t wait to make this!

    • Reply Adrianna September 22, 2010 at 10:34 am

      Oooo…I see how that’s a bit confusing. No, it’s just one layer of zucchini with all the stuff stacked on top of it: marinara sauce, cheese and basil.

  • Reply Alejandra September 20, 2010 at 10:18 am

    I’m making this for dinner tonight!

  • Reply Vera September 16, 2010 at 6:31 pm

    Was that little asterisk to tell us your favorite tomato sauce? Did I miss it? I want to know!! Will be making this soon. I just realized three of my recipes on next week’s menu have zucchini in them – must be a random craving or a sudden surge in zucchinis on blogs.

    • Reply Adrianna September 17, 2010 at 10:57 am

      Oh it was a typo! It’s gone now. I just used a good quality jarred marinara sauce that I got at WF. I’m in love with zucchini right now and you’re right, it’s all over the blogsphere at the moment.

      • Reply Vera September 20, 2010 at 4:13 pm

        Made this tonight and it was fabulous! Thank you!!

  • Reply Jeremy September 6, 2010 at 3:58 pm

    Tried it. Loved it. Must have it again. Keep bloggin!

  • Reply Liling September 4, 2010 at 8:35 pm

    It looks real yummy!

    but perhaps be a little nicer to eggplants!

  • Reply Nicole September 4, 2010 at 11:08 am

    So I random search for recipies on peoples blogs. So far this is the second time I have come across a great recipe on your blog! Awesome huh?! So I want to mention that I really wanted to make this, and it was still pretty early in the AM to actually have lunch, so I cracked a few eggs on top and had it for breakfast! Thanks for the great idea! Eat on!

  • Reply Marta September 1, 2010 at 1:07 pm

    Hi girls! Spain here! I just made this delicious recipe to my family and they loved it! I have to thank you tons, especially since im not a super cooker. Easy and awesome recipe.
    Keep going girls!

  • Reply Signe September 1, 2010 at 2:46 am

    Tried this one and it was absolutely amazing!
    Thanks a lot 🙂

  • Reply Charlotte August 31, 2010 at 6:11 pm

    Thank you for your comment on my blog! It’s fairly new so I’m always excited to see any recognition. Zucchini is one of my favorite vegetables, and although I don’t think the devil invented eggplant (have you ever had it smoked?!) my love for zucchini is far greater. And with cheese being my weakness, this looks phenomenal! I will definitely be giving this a try next time I buy zucchini

    • Reply Adrianna September 1, 2010 at 8:32 am

      I’ve never had it smoked. I’ll have to try it that way though I’ll admit I’m super skeptical.

  • Reply M. August 31, 2010 at 12:54 pm

    Vegetable dishes are so versatile and it seems like there are endless combinations of flavors to try…. it’s still not enough to make me want to turn vegan 🙂 rarely eat meat, but I still love cheese and seafood, so would have the same kind of dilemma as you did, if I was to turn vegan.
    And in recipe like the one above, I would definitely miss the real cheese!

  • Reply Sandy a la Mode August 31, 2010 at 10:33 am

    last week i just did a post on zucchini recipes! and now i can add this to my collection, the parm looks heavenly!!

  • Reply Megan August 31, 2010 at 10:10 am

    I have been trying to find a recipe like this for over a week! So happy I found this one. I love zucchini! This might be dinner tonight!

  • Reply Betty @ scrambled hen fruit August 30, 2010 at 7:24 pm

    I bet I could get my hubby to eat zucchini like this! Delicious!

  • Reply Katrina August 30, 2010 at 7:18 pm

    I’ve only ever made eggplant parm before. This is a great idea!

  • Reply ashley @ ashley's adventures in alaska August 30, 2010 at 6:25 pm

    This looks sooooo yummy! I may be trying this soon- you know, to use a vegetable instead of white pasta with my sauce and cheese. 🙂

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