Stanley Tucci: Searching for Italy recently concluded its first season and I’m missing it like crazy! Where’s my Sunday night dose of Tucci, with a negroni?! The good news is—there’s talk of a season two! Until then, I will continue cooking my way through Italy and share the many recipes he discovered with you here.
Tucci introduced the world to Spaghetti alla Nerano in episode 1, but this vegetarian pasta has been a family favorite at our house for as long as I can remember.
Related: Easy Italian Lemon Cream Cake From Stanley Tucci: Searching for Italy
What is Spaghetti alla Nerano?
This is a simple dish made with just three main ingredients: pasta, zucchini and Provolone cheese. What makes it delicious is the quality of ingredients and the secret cooking technique of frying the zucchini.
Do ingredients matter in Spaghetti alla Nerano?
YES! With such a few ingredients quality is key. Italians will often use home-grown zucchini also known as Cucuzza. Although, not easy to find in stores outside of Italy, many Italian Americans grow their own on vines in the backyard.
What cheese is used in Spaghetti alla Nerano?
The cheese used in Spaghetti alla Nerano is a semi-hard Provolone cheese, that is made of whole milk from cows primarily from southern Italy.
Can I use another pasta for Spaghetti alla Nerano?
As the name suggests, spaghetti is the best choice of pasta for this recipe. The thick creamy cheese sauce coats the long strands nicely, but if you don’t have on hand you could use another long-strand noodle like fettuccine or bucatini.
This dish pairs beautifully with the prestigious Greco wine grape variety from Campania; Cantine Terranera Greco di Tufo docg 2018.
For more Searching for Italy recipes, try:
Spaghetti alla Nerano
- 6 medium-sized zucchini, sliced to about ¼′′ thick
- ½ cup of Provolone cheese, finely grated
- 1 lb of pasta
- 2 Tbsp of Butter
- 2 clove garlic
Fry zucchini pieces in plenty of hot oil, a few slices at a time. They’re done as soon as they turn a golden. Drain on a paper towel as they are ready. Sprinkle the zucchini with salt and torn basil leaves.
Cook the pasta in salted boiling water and strain once al dente, setting aside two cups of pasta water.
Sauté the garlic clove in a pan with a bit of oil and the butter. Remove the garlic and add the zucchini, pasta, 1 cup of the cooking water, and half the provolone.
Finish cooking the pasta over med heat, adding the remaining provolone.
Mix until it forms a creamy sauce.
Serve immediately with a generous amount of freshly ground pepper.