Spaghetti alla Nerano

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Spaghetti alla Nerano

Ingredients

Scale

Inspired by Frank Prisinzano’s method

Serves 2

  • A little less than 1/2 lb spaghetti, about 3 oz of pasta per person
  • 2 medium-sized zucchini, ends trimmed and thinly sliced into half-moons
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated pecorino romano (you can also use parmigiano reggiano or provolone del monaco)
  • Fresh mint or basil for garnish, about a teaspoon or so per bowl, torn or cut into thin ribbons
  • Sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

Bring a large pot of generously salted water to a boil (Your water should taste like the sea). While your water is coming to a boil, prepare the zucchini.

In a medium-sized pan (I used a 10” pan), pour in enough extra virgin olive oil to generously coat the entire bottom of the pan. Turn the heat up to medium. After a minute or so, add a slice of zucchini to test the heat. Once it sizzles, it is ready. Add a single layer of zucchini to the oil. Carefully move the zucchini around and separate any pieces that have stuck together. Cook until tender and just starting to turn slightly golden in places. Remove the cooked zucchini from the pan with a slotted spatula and place it on a plate. Repeat until all the zucchini has been cooked. Turn the heat off. Pour any remaining oil from the pan onto the plate with the zucchini. 

Transfer half of the cooked zucchini and oil on the plate into a food processor. Blend until it reaches the consistency of a pesto and still has a bit of texture to it. Transfer the zucchini puree and remaining zucchini and oil on the plate into a large mixing bowl.

Once your pasta water is boiling, add the spaghetti and cook until al dente. Once the pasta is finished, lift it out of the pasta water and place it directly into the bowl with the zucchini. Begin stirring vigorously. Add pasta water as needed, continuously stirring, until you get a nice creaminess and coating of sauce on the strands of spaghetti. Once it is ready, divide the pasta into two bowls. Top each bowl with 1/4 cup freshly grated pecorino romano, about a teaspoon of fresh mint, some freshly cracked black pepper, and a light drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. 

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