Caramelized Zucchini Pasta Recipe: What to Make When Stanley Tucci Comes to Dinner by Donna John

Caramelized Zucchini Pasta Recipe: What to Make When Stanley Tucci Comes to Dinner

One of Stanley Tucci's favorite Italian dishes is Spaghetti alla Nerano. This Italian recipe was created in the village of Nerano on the Sorrento Peninsula in Italy. The dish is made with spaghetti, "fried" zucchini and cheese.

I'm not calling my pasta recipe Spaghetti alla Nerano because I took some liberties on ingredients and how it's made. When you make Spaghetti all Nerano, you fry the zucchini the day before and let it chill in the fridge overnight. I did not have time for that. Another change I made was using only Parmesan cheese. The authentic version uses provolone del Monaco and Parmesan. Changes aside, this caramelized zucchini pasta recipe was creamy and delicious.

To make this zucchini pasta you will need just a handful of simple ingredients. Here is your shopping list: fresh zucchini, olive oil, spaghetti noodles, garlic, Parmesan cheese and black pepper. The zucchini is pan-fried in a good amount of olive oil until it is very charred and soft. Half of the zucchini is mashed together with some of the cheese and pasta water to create a paste. The zucchini paste is added to the remaining zucchini that's been cooked with garlic, add the cooked noodles, more cheese and black pepper and it's ready to be eaten.

Serve this creamy pasta dish for dinner with your favorite side dishes. Regardless of my changes, I still think Stanley would enjoy a bowl. Come to dinner, Mr. Tucci.

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Cuisine: Italian
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 4


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Recipe Notes

  • I discovered whole-wheat pasta when I made my creamy caramelized cabbage pasta recipe, and I'm now a fan of it for certain dishes. That is what I used in this recipe, but you can use regular pasta.
  • Slice the zucchini somewhat thin so they cook faster.
  • For some spice, add some crushed red pepper flakes.
  • Store the leftovers in an airtight container for up to four days.

Here's how to make it: 

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet. Add the zucchini and cook, stirring often, until charred and very soft. Turn the heat off and let them sit while the pasta cooks.
  2. Cook the pasta in salted water according to package directions for al dente.
  3. Remove half of the zucchini to a bowl. Add 2 - 3 tablespoons of the cheese and a couple tablespoons of the pasta water.
  4. Mash until it forms a paste. Season with black pepper.
  5. Turn the heat back on the zucchini in the skillet and add the garlic. Season with black pepper. Cook about 30 seconds.
  6. Add the spaghetti noodles, zucchini paste and remaining cheese to the skillet. Stir to combine. Taste and add more black pepper and pasta water, if needed.
  7. Serve with more grated Parmesan cheese.

Nutrition Facts Per Serving

Calories: 528

Total Fat: 16.1g

Saturated Fat: 4.5g

Cholesterol: 15mg

Sodium: 230mg

Total Carbohydrate: 80.9g

Dietary Fiber: 10.6g

Total Sugars: 2.9g

Protein: 19.5g

Vitamin D: 2mcg

Calcium: 598mg

Iron: 3mg

Potassium: 137mg

Recipe cooking times, nutritional information and servings are approximate and provided for your convenience. However, 30Seconds is not responsible for the outcome of any recipe, nor may you have the same results because of variations in ingredients, temperatures, altitude, errors, omissions or cooking/baking abilities. This recipe has been analyzed by VeryWellFit. However, any nutritional information is provided as a courtesy and it is up to the individual to ascertain accuracy. To ensure image quality, we may occasionally use stock photography.

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Elisa Schmitz
Love recipes that have few ingredients yet are absolutely delicious. This one fits that bill. Yum!

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