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spaghetti alla nerano
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Spaghetti alla Nerano (Spaghetti with Fried Zucchini)

Spaghetti alla Nerano was invented in the fifties by a woman called Maria Grazia in a restaurant bearing her name in Nerano a small town on the Sorrento peninsula. Apparently, the restaurant still exists and is being run by her grandchildren!
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Italian, Pasta, Vegetarian
Author: Mike Nadelman


  • 1 ½ pounds zucchini sliced
  • ½ cup olive oil or more as needed
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic or more to taste
  • 1 16 ounce package spaghetti
  • ½ cup grated aged provolone cheese
  • ¾ cup chopped fresh basil
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste


  • Place zucchini slices on a plate and let dry for 1 hour.
  • Heat 1/2 cup oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add zucchini slices in batches and deep fry until brown, 10 to 15 minutes per batch. Drain on paper towels and allow to cool. Mash 1/3 of the zucchini.
  • Place 3 tablespoons olive oil and garlic cloves in a large saucepan over low heat. Watch carefully and simmer until garlic cloves are a light golden brown and oil is infused with garlic flavor, 15 to 20 minutes. Stir in mashed zucchini. Add zucchini slices.
  • Meanwhile, bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Cook spaghetti in the boiling water, stirring occasionally, until tender yet firm to the bite, about 12 minutes. Drain spaghetti, reserving some cooking water.
  • Add spaghetti and provolone cheese to the saucepan. Toss and add hot pasta water until sauce becomes creamy. Mix in basil, season with salt and pepper, and serve.