How to make the Authentic Spaghetti alla Nerano as featured by Stanley Tucci… and Packrafting in Bagni di Lucca

Spaghetti alla Nerano made famous by Stanley Tucci is cooked by Enzo. His friends and family from the area do a version which is missing one ingredient that the restaurant version had that was tasted on “Searching for Italy.” The original recipe is secret, the question which is more authentic. 

Spaghetti alla Nerano is a recipe create in 1952 by Donna Rosa owner of the Ristorante Maria Grazia in Nerano on the Sorrento Peninsula near the Amalfi coast.

Ingredients (serves 2)

  • 200 gr/ 7oz Spaghetti
  • 4 medium Zucchini /Courgettes
  • about 450 gr/ 1 lb 2 garlic cloves
  • 100 gr/ 3.5 oz Grated Provolone cheese
  • 50 gr./ 1,5 oz Parmigiano Reggiano
  • 3 tbsp EV Olive oil
  • 2 cups 470 ml of good frying oil
  • Black ground pepper
  • Salt to season
  • Salt for the pasta water

Fill a pasta saucepan with water, this time less than the required amount, because you need the starch. Add the required amount of salt and put it on the stove on low heat as you need it in about 20 min / half an hour. Cut the Zucchini in rings all with the same thickness roughly about ½ cm or ¼ of an inch. In an 8 inches pan pour 2 cups of frying oil and over a low heat bring the oil to the frying temperature of 160 C or 320 F. If you don’t have a thermometer, an old trick is to dip the tip of a toothpick in the hot oil and little bubbles develop around it when the oil is ready to start. Another trick is to place one zucchini slice in the hot oil and when it starts gently frying the oil is hot enough. Do not bring the temperature too high, stirring from time to time to stop it sticking. Now place some of the zucchini slices in the hot oil, but not too many otherwise the temperature of the oil drops, and fry them until golden brown. Remove them with a skimmer or schiumarola and place them on kitchen paper to absorb the excess oil. When all your zucchini are ready, set them aside for a minute. In the meantime when the pasta water is boiling, put the pasta in and stir from time to time to stop it sticking. The pasta must be undercooked by one minute at least. Grate the cheeses In a shallow pan pour two tbsp of EV Olive oil and two crushed cloves of garlic, with their skin, which you might like to remove before serving. On a low heat sizzle the garlic for a couple of minutes and then add the fried zucchini When hot, turn the heat off and add 1/2a ladle of starchy pasta water and a couple of tablespoons of grated cheese. Start mixing until you see an emulsion developing. Add more cheese and more water and keep stirring, making sure you do not create big lumps of cheese. Now the pasta should be ready, one minute undercooked. Add the pasta with thongs if possible, so it is still quite wet, to the zucchini and emulsion and amalgamate well until the emulsion beautifully coates it. Sprinkle with ground pepper before serving. Buon appetito!

Our Video on how to buy pasta like an Italian… We went down to the Lima, a fast flowing mountain river in northern Tuscany on a very humid afternoon and discovered packrafting.. We discovered Bagni di Lucca is one of the best centres for this sport in Italy. The packrafting in the video are a group with Rockonda

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