The Stanley Tucci Spaghetti

September 10, 2022

I am a huge fan of the CNN travel show Stanley Tucci: Searching for Italy. In particular, I love Stanley Tucci's enthusiasm for all the food he eats and that is what drew me in immediately (and it didn't hurt hearing him speak Italian fluently during his travels). 

However, there was one dish that stood out to me, as well as to most viewers: Spaghetti Alla Nerano, which is a simple pasta dish with zucchini, yet Stanley and his wife tried endlessly to recreate the dish after sampling it at a restaurant on the Amalfi Coast---his wife called it pure ecstasy. 
I waited patiently for about a year and a half for the recipe to be available online and not one but two different sources published a version of it this summer.

The Recipe: Spaghetti Alla Nerano from The New Yorker and CNN
Recipe Notes: 
  • On the show, the chef had a large pot of sunflower oil to fry the zucchini and even Felicity, Stanley's wife, made note of this. The recipe doesn't specify the amount of oil to use so I used the entire bottle (it was 16 oz) to deep fry it rather than pan frying it . 
  • Frying the zucchini is cumbersome and should be done hours or a day in advance. 
  • Use spaghetti or linguine. I thought I'd be fancy and use the bucatini I had in my pantry but those noodles were too thick and prominent for this dish. When I switched to linguine to eat leftovers, the zucchini and noodles worked well together. 
The Results: When I ate the dish with the overpowering bucatini noodles, the dish fell flat. I couldn't understand why Stanley and his wife Felicity were obsessed with it. But when I made the switch to a skinnier noodle, the flavors worked better together and made the dish pretty delicious. I'm not exactly obsessed with it, but it was quite enjoyable.  

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