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Pasta with Pecorino-Zucchini Sauce and Basil
From Italy’s Amalfi Coast, pasta alla nerano features long, thin pasta tossed with a velvety sauce made with pureed zucchini. It’s an elegant yet easy dish that’s luxurious but not heavy. We use a minimal amount of water to cook the pasta, then blend some of the starchy liquid with tender, sautéed zucchini to create creamy consistency without cream. If you own an immersion blender, it works well for making the zucchini-garlic puree; simply transfer the ingredients to be blended to a medium bowl. When smooth, return the mixture to the pot.
Look for zucchini that are medium in size, or that weigh about 8 ounces each. Larger zucchini can be too seedy. Medium zucchini yield matchsticks of a good length for the dish. And be sure to seek out a chunk of pecorino and grate it yourself. The flavor will be fresher and fuller than cheese that’s purchased already grated.
If you own an immersion blender, it works well for making the zucchini-garlic puree; simply transfer the ingredients to be blended to a medium bowl. When smooth, return the mixture to the pot.
pounds medium zucchini
pound spaghetti OR bucatini
01Thinly slice the zucchini on the diagonal. Stack several slices and cut lengthwise into matchsticks. Repeat with the remaining slices; set the zucchini aside.