Originally seen in the area of Nerano many decades ago, this dish has been interpreted by every cook on the coastline, including some of the best restaurants. But Rosetta’s recipe stands out. Her trick? I believe it’s the two different ways she prepares the zucchini before bringing them together, and her ample quantity of basil. Be generous: zucchini and basil are a match made in heaven!
- 500 ml peanut oil
- 2 kg zucchini (courgettes), cut into 5 mm thick rounds
- 30 g butter
- 1 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 small onion, chopped
- 1 heaped tablespoon salt
- 200 ml thickened cream
- 100 g parmesan, grated
- 30 young and tender basil leaves
- 500 g spaghetti
Heat the peanut oil in a large deep frying pan over medium–high heat until hot but not smoking. Add half the zucchini and cook until golden. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain in a colander.
Combine the butter and olive oil in a large saucepan over low heat until the butter has melted. Add the onion and cook until transparent. Add the remaining zucchini, the salt and 125 ml water and cook gently for about 20 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat, then stir in the fried zucchini and set aside.
Roughly tear 10 basil leaves and combine in a large bowl with the cream and parmesan. Stir in the zucchini mixture.
Cook the spaghetti in boiling salted water for 7–8 minutes. Keep an eye on it as you want to remove it 2 minutes before it is ready. Drain, reserving a cup of the cooking water as you will need some for the sauce. This is very important as the zucchini paste can be dry.
Add the pasta and a little pasta water to the zucchini paste and toss until well mixed.
OR, using a pasta fork, you can ?sh the pasta out of the hot water directly into the bowl with the zucchini, which will automatically take some liquid with it, then toss everything together.
Divide the pasta among serving bowls and garnish with the remaining basil leaves. Eat immediately.