Feel Good

How to make Stanley Tucci’s favourite pasta dish

In his BBC Two series Searching for Italy, Tucci described Spaghetti alla Nerano as “one of the best things he’s ever eaten”.

Written by Beth Williams
Published 15.03.2023

Serves: 4



400g spaghetti

6 medium courgettes (roughly 1kg), sliced into thin rounds

Handful of fresh basil leaves, torn

200g Provolone (or 100g each of Pecorino and Parmigiano Reggiano), grated.

500ml sunflower oil, for frying the courgettes

50g butter

Salt and pepper, to taste



Heat the sunflower oil in a large, high-sided frying pan. You want the oil to be hot, so test it by dropping in a single disc of courgette and checking if it sizzles.

Once the oil is suitably hot, add your sliced courgettes and deep-fry until golden (you might need to do this in batches depending on the size of your pan).

Remove your courgette rounds with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper, then put them in a bowl and leave to cool to room temperature.

Next, bring a pan of well-salted water to the boil and start cooking your pasta – aim for a couple of minutes less than the packet instructions.

While the pasta is cooking, put a frying pan on medium and heat your cooled courgette, stirring occasionally and adding a couple of ladles of pasta water.

Once the courgettes start to soften, add the butter and stir until it melts, breaking the courgettes up with the back of a wooden spoon as you go.

Once your pasta is al dente, drain it (reserving some more pasta water) and add to your pan of courgettes, along with most of the cheese.

Remove your pan from the heat and toss to combine, adding more pasta water if you need (you’re looking for a silky sauce that coats your pasta).

Season to taste, then serve sprinkled with more cheese and some torn basil leaves.


Recipe credit: Pasta Evangelists

Image credit: Foodie Crush

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