After listening to Stanley Tucci lose his mind about this pasta and calling it life-changing and one of the best things he's ever eaten, I decided I'd give it a try. The results were amazing and the key to getting the toasted sweet taste of the zucchini was deep-frying it!

Recipe Summary test

20 mins
35 mins
8 hrs
8 hrs 55 mins
2 servings


Original recipe yields 2 servings
The ingredient list now reflects the servings specified
Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • Place sunflower oil in a deep fryer and heat to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Slice zucchini into 1/8-inch rounds.

  • Add some zucchini to the hot oil and deep-fry until lightly browned, 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer to a single layer on paper towels to drain and repeat to cook remaining zucchini. Let zucchini cool to room temperature.

  • Transfer cooled zucchini to a bowl. Cover and refrigerate, 8 hours to overnight.

  • Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Cook spaghetti in the boiling water, stirring occasionally, until it's 2 minutes away from being tender yet firm to the bite, 9 to 10 minutes.

  • As you are cooking the spaghetti, heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add zucchini and salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until it starts to release juices, soften, and break down, 3 to 5 minutes. Add a couple splashes of the pasta water to the zucchini, but don't overdo it. Break zucchini into small pieces with the edge of a spoon or spatula. Reduce heat to low and toss in basil and butter; stir until butter melts.

  • Grab spaghetti with tongs and transfer it right into the sauce; stir until coated. Mix in Pecorino Romano and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheeses. Add a final splash of pasta water and adjust salt if needed.

  • Serve with more grated cheese and fresh basil.

Chef's Notes:

Use any zucchini from your garden, different types and sizes are fine.

If your deep fryer is small, you can use a Dutch oven instead and fry more at a time.

You can add a clove of minced garlic when making the sauce if you want.

Use grated Provolone del Monoco cheese if you can find it. I used 1/2 Parmesan cheese and 1/2 Toma cheese.

Editor's Note:

We have determined the nutritional value of oil for frying based on a retention value of 10% after cooking. Amount will vary depending on cooking time and temperature, ingredient density, and specific type of oil used.

Nutrition Facts

1016 calories; protein 23.3g; carbohydrates 62.5g; fat 78.1g; cholesterol 56.5mg; sodium 479.3mg. Full Nutrition


Rating: 4 stars
It is really good and a fine use for zucchini, would not travel or pay for anyone to make for me Read More
Rating: 5 stars
Absolutely fantastic! Took an hour to fry nine zucchini for a dinner for three.....well worth it! Super impressive meal! And so simple! Will totally break my diet to have pasta for this one! So creamy! So rich! ......i did add minced garlic tho Read More
Rating: 5 stars
I made this exactly following the recipe and it was delicious! No changes, no substitutions, no suggestions, just as it is! Read More
Rating: 5 stars
OMG! This recipe was on point. I only made a little bit because I didn't want to waste food. How I regret not making more. Excellent taste and every bite was so light and filling. I can't wait to make this for my grown kids :-). Read More
Rating: 5 stars
Omg so delicious easy to make Read More
Rating: 5 stars
Thanks Chef John, you nailed it! I too, watched this episode of "Stanley Tucci's Searching for Italy", and all the others, as well. The important step of refrigerating the fried zucchini overnight it the step Stanley missed, but is important. Thanks for keeping true to the way this is made. I've made this several times, and now that zucchini is abundant, I'm making it again. It's awesome! Thank you again! Read More
Rating: 5 stars
Delicious!! Easy to prep for a quick dinner. Whole family loves it. Read More
Rating: 1 stars
I couldn't wait to try this recipe. Even got a deep fryer to make it and invited a guest to share. It was horrible!!! Greasy and tasteless. I followed the recipe to the letter except for the types of cheeses.. I grated from a block of Parm- Reggiano. That's all that was available. We ate it! That's all there was. Read More
Rating: 5 stars
So simple but so delicious. I made it exactly as written. So perfect when the season offers zucchini in abundance. Read More