Spaghetti alla Nerano: a traditional Italian recipe from the Amalfi Coast
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Spaghetti alla Nerano: one of the less known, yet amazing, Italian recipes ever. It’s so traditional and local that not many people know about it unless they are from the place from this pasta has originated, the Amalfi Coast or, even better, the Sorrento Coast. Specifically, spaghetti alla Nerano have been invented by the restaurant Da Mariagrazia and it uses the most typical and seasonal ingredients of the area: zucchini and cheese.
One of the main thing about this dish, is that nobody knows the original recipe so many just improvise and use cream, mashed zucchini and who knows what else to create the creamy texture: in reality, it’s sure no cream, no eggs, no mushed stuff, no strange ingredients are needed to make this pasta. Not even butter, which will give the pasta a strange texture and a sweet flavor.
You only need one type of cheese ’cause it’s the mix of cheese, fried zucchini and a bit of water that gives the texture to this pasta.
The cheese used in the original recipe is the so-called Provolone del Monaco, typical of the region, but since it’s very hard to find abroad you can use some mature cheddar or, even better, go to an Italian supermarket and ask for some “caciocavallo”.
Remember: this pasta has to be prepared and eaten otherwise the cheese will become hard and the fried zucchini will start losing taste. Make sure it won’t last (not hard, to be honest) otherwise you won’t be able to reheat and serve again.
Ingredients for 2 people
- 250 grams of spaghetti
- 600 grams of zucchini
- 150 grams of mature cheese
- 1 clove of garlic
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Cut the zucchini into thin slices. Fry the zucchini in extra virgin olive oil until golden brown. Place the zucchini on kitchen paper or on a grid so that they will dry and the excess oil will be absorbed.
- Add some basil on top of the zucchini so that the aroma will be released.
- Cook the pasta al dente (follow this method!)
- Leave 2 tablespoons of oil in the pan where you have cooked the zucchini, add 1 clove of garlic and let it release the aroma. Take the garlic out of the pan, add the zucchini and simmer for a few seconds by adding 1 spoon of cooking water.
- Add the pasta into the pan with the zucchini (do not throw away the cooking water!), grate the cheese, add it to the spaghetti together with a glass of cooking water. Cook for a few minutes until the spaghetti is ready.
- Serve immediately by adding some black pepper and some fresh basil.
Preparation time: 30 minutes
[Pics by Giuseppe]