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Nido di spaghetoni recipe

Nido di spaghetoni recipe

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  • Pasta
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  • Spaghetti

A creamy and definitely Italian way of combining some of Italy's best known flavours - oregano, basil, tomato and, of course, mozzarella, in a very easy and quick middle-of-the-week dish.

Setúbal, Portugal

1 person made this

IngredientsServes: 2

  • 200g spaghetoni
  • salt
  • olive oil
  • 6 tablespoons Napolitana sauce
  • 1/2 large ball mozzarella cheese
  • 75g black olives, halved

MethodPrep:5min ›Cook:12min ›Ready in:17min

  1. Boil the pasta in salted water until almost al dente.
  2. Drain the water and return the pasta to the pan, drizzling it with a splash of olive oil.
  3. Add half of the sauce to the pasta and mix well, coating it thoroughly.
  4. Form a nest and place the mozzarella in the centre. Take to the microwave for 3-4 minutes.
  5. Take it out of the microwave and coat with the remaining sauce.
  6. Serve decorated with the halves of the olives.


Spaghettoni has a broader diameter than regular spaghetti. In a pinch, regular spaghetti can be used. Instead of Napolitana sauce, your favourite tomato-based pasta sauce can be used.

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Teggiano, formerly known as the state of Diano, lies just south of Salerno in the region of Campania. This town was put on my personal map by virtue of a curious pepper that I came across while doing my usual online shopping for new and interesting specialty Italian provisions.

The name alone caught my eye, so I decided to go straight to the source for more information. I reached out to Pietro d’Elia, founder of I Segreti di Diano the company that has a full line of products and condiments made from Sciuscillone and their spicier counterpart, Serpentino. His explanation was fascinating, sharing that the name is derived from the word sciuscella, or carob. These peppers are not a vegetable, in fact. They are a fruit! I was all in at this point, my interest piqued to the point that I picked up one of the most enticing products in Pietro’s portfolio, Starìci. These sweet, affectionately named (starìci in Teggianese dialect is a term of endearment), dried pepper chips were an unexpected delight. One chip after the next, the clean yet complex nature of them landed my hand at the bottom of the jar in no time…

So what is the secret to these addictively crunchy peppers? Much like cruschi of the Basilicata region, they are sun-dried, seeded, toasted and fried in extra virgin olive oil. The Dianesi carry out this process with care, hand harvesting, skewering each pepper with a needle and twine, and hanging them to dry on long chains called nzerte. Beyond eating them in their natural state, I immediately began considering different ways to enjoy them. Coarsely crushed, they are fantastic as a replacement for croutons in salads or soups. Crushing them more finely will leave you with a sweet and texturally interesting garnish for pasta dishes, eggs or even pizza.

Do you want in on the Sciuscillone secret? Try your hand at Spaghettoni, a dish native to Teggiano that stars Starìci and Pòrva, a powdered spice made from dried, roasted Sciuscillone, compliments of Pietro’s friend and business partner, chef Tony Granieri!

Spaghettoni Pòrva, Breadcrumbs and Starìci by Chef Tony Granieri


1 lb. spaghettoni or spaghetti
2 Tbsp. Pòrva
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic
1/3 cup breadcrumbs
1/4 cup medium-aged pecorino cheese
15 pieces Starìci
Salt to taste

To start, add water to a large pot and salt it generously while waiting for it to boil.
Once the water is at a rapid boil, drop the spaghettoni.
In the meantime, heat the oil in a large non-stick pan and brown the whole clove of garlic. Once toasted, remove the garlic and add the Pòrva in the oil, being careful not to burn it. As soon as it starts to fry, remove the pan from the heat and set aside.
In a separate non-stick pan, toast the breadcrumbs with the grated pecorino, then set aside.
Once the pasta is cooked to al dente, drain and toss in the pan with the extra virgin olive oil and Pòrva. Mix well, and if desired, add salt.
Plate each serving of spaghettoni and top with a generous spoonful of the pecorino breadcrumbs.
Garnish each plate with four, crushed Starìci. Enjoy!

I Segreti di Diano products are available for purchase at Artisanal Pantry, who ships nationwide.

Swallows Nest Pasta from San Marino (Nidi di Rondine)

Seriously, we absolutely loved this recipe. It was a large pasta noodle that was smothered in an amazing bechamel sauce then topped with fontina cheese and more cheese and a slice of prosciutto and basil leaves. All this is wrapped up into a roll that is supposed to look like swallows nest pasta. A marinara is in the bottom of the baking dish and some put on top with, yes, some more cheese. It is baked and served warm.

We actually had some left over and it was even better the next day, I think a lot of pasta dishes are like that, don’t you?

Did you know that the constitution of San Marino, enacted in 1600, is the world’s oldest constitution still in effect? If you would like to learn more about this tiny little country be sure to check out “Our Journey to San Marino“. It is also known as “the most Serene Republic of San Marino”.. You will also find more delicious and authentic recipes.

Craving even more? Be sure to join the culinary and cultural journey around the world so you don’t miss a thing, it’s free. You can also follow me on Instagram, Facebook , Pinterest and youtube to follow along our journey.

Please note that this page contains affiliate links in which I will earn a small commission however, it will in no way affect the price you pay. I thank you for your support!

From Stanley Tucci’s “Searching For Italy”: Spaghetti Alla Nerano

Stanley Tucci with today’s featured dish at the Ristorante where it was invented.

Stanley Tucci’s 6-part series for CNN is an Italophile’s dream.

For one hour a week, its viewers are immersed in the food of a single region of Italy. For lovers of the Italian language, there’s a surprising amount of it spoken here. Subtitles are provided in English. Last week, the series was picked up for another season. Wonderful news because the goal of the series is to cover all 20 regions of the country.

Tucci started his food odyssey in Naples before heading to Amalfi where today’s dish was invented.

Spaghetti alla Nerano is a celebrated dish named after the beach town where it was invented. It is pasta and zucchini gastronomically elevated with elements of Cacio e Pepe. A great zesty dish, it relies on provolone to bring an otherwise bland vegetable to life. Topped with basil it even smells wonderful. And I have to add that it’s incredibly economical. The most expensive thing on the plate is the Provolone. But on the way to the recipe, I encountered a surprising amount of confusion for something this simple. Odd because unlike so many famous recipes, Spaghetti alla Nerano’s invention can be traced to one woman and one restaurant.

Maria Grazia invented Spaghetti alla Nerano ‘just for fun’ in 1952.

Stanley Tucci and his wife, Felicity Blunt with Chef Lello.

At her eponymous restaurant, founded by her mother in 1901, Maria’s precise recipe remains a well-guarded secret. Having convinced the Chef, grandson of its inventor, to cook the dish on camera, Tucci quickly uncovers the addition of Butter. But that was not all. I was so keen on the dish, I re-watched the segment several times. Then I went to find the recipe. It never approximated what I had seen. I bypassed English language recipes and searched in Italian. Not even “La Cucina Italiana”, my go-to on Italian cooking, got it right. In fact, they expressly ruled out using ‘nut oils’ in lieu of E.V.O. Chef Lello used Sunflower Oil. My recipe is what I divined from Stanley’s visit to Maria Grazia. With one major exception. Chef Lello fries his Zucchini and lets it sit overnight, using it the next day. This I dutifully did. I could not understand what that achieved. So the recipe is put together all at once. And it’s simply wonderful.

Spaghetti Alla Nerano is actually less tricky to get right than the Roman classic, Cacio e Pepe.

When the pasta is al dente, drain it, but not completely. The pasta water is as essential as the butter in making the sauce creamy. Add the fried zucchini rounds and then the pasta to the skillet and a ladleful of pasta water. Mix everything together vigorously for a minute or two. (The zucchini rounds are bound to break up, but that’s normal.) Then add the grated cheese and some more basil leaves and continue mixing until the cheese has completed melted into a creamy sauce, adding more pasta water if needed.

The Cheese is essential to the dish. Choose wisely.

A great number of recipes use Provolone di Monaco. “Monk’s Provolone” is a local cheese from the Sorrento peninsula. It’s incredibly expensive in this country. A substitute is Caciocavallo at half the price. Another is Provolone. Provolone is made by hanging up the cheese to age. The longer the cheese is aged, the harder it becomes and the sharper its flavor. So if budget is an issue, Provolone Piccante is a great choice. But if all else fails, a mixture of 70 % Pecorino and 30 % Parmigiano will approximate the salty, tangy, spiciness of the genuine article. Here, at last, is the recipe, followed by some other favorite pasta dishes.

Maria Grazia Ristorante is located at Marina del Cantone, 80061, Nerano, Campania, Italy. There a serving of Spaghetti alla Nerano will set you back 18 Euros.

Large Spaghetti with Meat and Aubergine Balls

It is well known that pasta is the best food for endurance athletes, especially before a physically engaging event such as a marathon. This is because pasta is very slowly digested, which allows energy to be released over some considerable time. I created this recipe especially for my rugby-playing friends, and it has worked well as demonstrated by Italy’s recent win over France. (Rugby is a sport I would have enjoyed if, when i was young, I had been introduced to it.)

Preheat the oven to 180°C/Gas 4. Put the aubergines for the meatballs in an ovenproof dish, drizzle with a little olive oil and bake for 30 minutes. Cut the aubergines in half, and scoop the pulp out of the skins. Mash the pulp and keep to one side. Discard the skins.

For the sauce, heat the olive oil in a large saucepan, and fry the onion until soft, about 5 minutes. When soft add the wine, the tomato paste, tomato passata and the basil. Stir well and leave to cook gently for 30-40 minutes.

Meanwhile, continue with the meatballs by mixing together the beef mince, the soft aubergine pulp, garlic paste, nutmeg, Parmesan, beaten egg, breadcrumbs and some salt and pepper in a bowl. Mix well and shape with your hands into the shape of rugby balls and the size of apricots. Shallow-fry in olive oil to brown on all sides. Add the balls to the tomato sauce and keep warm.

Cook the pasta in plenty of boiling water for 8 minutes or until al dente. Drain well.

Pour the pasta into a large deep serving dish, and mix well with half of the sauce. Divide between individual dishes, put the rest of the sauce on the top and sprinkle with the Parmesan.

Serving Suggestion

An accompanying glass of Barbaresco or Chianti Classico – unless the players have to play soon afterwards – would suit this dish very well!

Spaghetti with colatura di alici

Cook the pasta in unsalted boiling water. Meanwhile, chop some parsley, garlic and peperoncino (optional), add eight tablespoons of olive oil and tablespoons of Delfino Battista colatura di alici di Cetara (Anchovy Sauce).

Add to the pasta cooked al dente, mix well (do not cook) and serve.

The spaghetti al dente and the strong flavour of the Colatura will guarantee you pure pleasure with each mouthful the true essence of the magnificent culinary tradition of the Amalfi Coast.

A plain, extremely simple dish! Spaghetti with Colatura di Alici can be cooked by anyone and it doesn’t take much time.

An old recipe that well reflects the frenetic pace of modern day: in a few minutes, you can serve a dish which is special, healthy and delicious.


By the 16th century, Naples and its hinterland had become a major consumer of Norwegian stoccafisso, produced on the remote Lofoten Islands between February and June (where, curiously, few islanders actually eat the stuff). But the softer salt-conserved baccalà, with its higher water content, is equally popular, especially the sapid Icelandic variety. Today, the inland town of Somma Vesuviana – birthplace of our chef, Gennaro Russo – has become the Italian salt cod and dried cod import capital. Gennaro pays homage to this primacy in this recipe that uses both ‘high and low’ parts, stockfish stomach innards (generally thrown in free for clients with larger orders) and the highly-prized central part of the baccalà – known as mussillo in Neapolitan dialect. These are combined with two other truly local products, Gragnano pasta and Giugià yellow tomatoes.

A word on salt cod preparation. In Italy, it’s possible to buy pre-soaked baccalà or stoccafisso, ready to cook. If you can’t find this, you’ll need to start soaking the fish quite some time before, in regular changes of water: at least 24 hours for baccalà, and three days for stockfish.


  • 400g (14oz) good quality Gragnano durum wheat spaghettoni (thick spaghetti)
  • 500g pre-soaked baccalà (salt cod)
  • 500g (18oz) of stockfish ventricelli or innards, skin removed, chopped (if you can’t source these, use the offcuts of the baccalà)
  • 1kg (36oz) of Giugià yellow tomatoes, cut in half (if you can’t source these, use flavoursome red cherry or daterino tomatoes)
  • Ten lettuce leaves
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • Olive oil as directed
  • Wood sorrel to garnish (if you can’t find this, use chervil or parsley)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

First prepare the baccalà (if you have a proper fishmonger, they should do this for you). With a sharp knife, remove the skin and trim the fish so you have two fillets of around 200g each from the highest, whitest, fluffiest part, removing any obvious bones. Keep the offcuts (but not the skin) if you’re planning to use them in the sauce in place of the stockfish innards.

Now time the four following steps so they finish together:

1) In a pan, toss the garlic cloves and the stalks of the parsley in a good slug of olive oil on a medium to low heat. When the garlic has taken colour, add the well-chopped stockfish innards or baccalà offcuts and toss for five minutes, stirring occasionally. Then add the tomatoes, reduce the heat to low, cover, and leave for up to an hour, stirring occasionally and checking that the sauce is not drying out or sticking. When it has achieved a good consistency, leave to cool before whizzing in a mouli to reduce it to a homogenous, creamy velouté.

2) Boil the pasta. Note that you may need to salt it less to compensate for the sauce – however much it is soaked, salt cod is always saltier than fresh cod. Cook the pasta until al dente, reserving a cup of the cooking water before you drain it.

3) In another pan, toss the baccalà fillets in another good slug of olive oil on a medium heat for around six minutes, until they begin to come apart in flakes and start to take on a pale golden colour. Aim to finish with at least four large flakes or squares per serving (see photo).

4) To make the lettuce purée – optional, but visually striking – boil ten leaves from the outside of a tasty lettuce for a minute or so, take out and chill immediately in iced water, whizz in a blender, and strain to give a purée with a pouring consistency.

Finally, add the sauce to the spaghettoni and stir for a minute or so on a low heat to amalgamate all the ingredients, adding some of the pasta cooking water if necessary to achieve the right consistency.

With a fork, twist around 100g of the sauce-coated pasta into a roll shape and serve in the centre of a soup or pasta plate (see photo). Portion out the sauce between the servings, pouring it onto the pasta, then decorate the perimeter of the sauce with blobs of lettuce purée, and place the flakes of baccalà on top of the pasta rolls, topped by the herbs of your choice.

How To Make Spaghetti Napoli

1. Bring a large pan of salted water to a boil and cook the spaghetti according to the packet instructions.

2. Heat the oil in a pan and gently cook the onions until soft.

3. Add the garlic, cook for 1 minute, then add the celery.

4. Cook for 5 minutes, then add the wine.

5. Allow the wine to bubble for 1 minute, then add the tomatoes and cook for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

6. Stir in the olives and the sugar and season with salt and pepper.

7. Stir the sauce into the drained spaghetti and serve garnished with the basil.

How to Make Spaghetti con la Colatura di Alici

If you took my recent advice, and picked up a bottle of colatura di alici, then this pasta primer is for you. For those who are still on the fence about Italy's aged fish sauce, hopefully this guide to one of the easiest spaghetti dinners around will help sway you in the right direction. Here's how to make spaghetti con la colatura di alici.

This dish is basically a no-cook-sauce version of aglio e olio that's amped up on umami, thanks to the addition of colatura. As discussed in my ingredient explainer, colatura is best deployed as a finishing seasoning in order to taste and appreciate its savory depth. When subjected to high heat, a lot of its nuance is lost.

For recipes that call for cooking with fish sauce, you are better off using a much more affordable Southeast Asian variety than pricey colatura—it would be like seasoning a pot of blanching water with Maldon sea salt. The only heat that the colatura is subjected to in this recipe comes when it is tossed with cooked spaghetti and a splash of pasta cooking water right before serving. By not dulling its flavor, this pasta allows the colatura to really shine.

I bring a few quarts of very lightly seasoned water to a boil, and then drop in the spaghetti. As with pasta alla gricia, ingredients in the sauce will provide plenty of salinity to the dish—in this case the saltiness comes from colatura, rather than gricia's combination of guanciale and Pecorino Romano—and you don't want to turn it into a salt lick. I like to use just a single teaspoon of salt for three quarts of water, but you can also leave the water completely unseasoned if you are limiting your sodium intake. Use as little water as possible to cook the spaghetti, in order to create super-starchy pasta water, which will help bind the sauce together later on.

While the pasta cooks, whisk together a few tablespoons of colatura, a minced garlic clove, and a healthy pinch of red pepper flakes in a really large bowl. The biggest bowl you have. Seriously. Because the sauce and pasta come together completely off-heat, they will need to be vigorously stirred and tossed together to form a creamy, emulsified sauce. You won't have the help of a hot skillet to achieve that proper pasta-finishing emulsion, so you will need the real estate of a giant bowl to effectively toss and coat the pasta without having to manhandle it.

Whisk extra-virgin olive oil into the colatura mixture to form what is essentially a colatura vinaigrette (I know, there's no vinegar, but we've been down this road before). If you want to call this dish a new-school pasta salad, be my guest.

Before the pasta finishes cooking, I steal a couple of tablespoons of pasta water from the pot and whisk them into the colatura dressing to form an emulsion. It's important to emulsify the colatura dressing before tossing it with the cooked spaghetti and more pasta water. Trying to build a creamy sauce from the ground up, once all of the components are combined, is a lot more difficult. This is the pasta-saucing equivalent of hand-whisked mayonnaise that requires careful emulsion- and emotion-management, while sauce-building in a hot skillet is the toss-it-all-together immersion blender method.

When the pasta reaches al dente perfection, add it to the bowl with a half cup of starchy pasta water (this is why we didn't aggressively season the pasta water earlier), and a fistful of chopped parsley. Now it's time to toss. Toss (or rapidly stir, with a gentle touch so that you don't mangle the noodles) the pasta enthusiastically, until the pasta water and colatura mixture come together to form a creamy sauce that coats the spaghetti, and pools ever-so-slightly around the noodles.

Next, add a scattering of breadcrumbs that have been lightly toasted in olive oil. The breadcrumbs do two things: They provide a little texture and crunch to the dish, but, even more importantly, they strengthen the emulsion of the sauce, helping to prevent it from breaking (think of how bread helps bind together gazpacho).

Keep tossing away to incorporate the breadcrumbs, adding a splash or two more of starchy water if necessary—you don't want the pasta to be dry.

To finish things off, I add a little finely grated lemon zest for brightness and a hint of acidity. Lemon juice has the tendency to downplay the flavor of the colatura, which is the star of this dish, so I just use zest for this recipe. Then you need to taste the pasta for seasoning. It should be very well-seasoned thanks to the colatura, but not salty. I like to add a final splash of colatura at the last second to make sure its flavor is front and center, but you can make that call for yourself. What I do know is that there aren't many dishes that come together in 20 minutes and pack this amount of intense savory depth, and I think it makes the case for colatura as a weeknight dinner secret weapon that is worth splurging on.

Pork Loin Braised In Milk

Pork Loin Braised In Milk is marinated and braised Italian style in a slightly curdled evaporated milk mixture flavored with pancetta and herbs. The acidic milk tenderizes the pork and creates a lovely light sauce for serving. Save time by asking your butcher to trim and tie the pork loin for you.



REMOVE all visible fat from pork and tie it into compact bundle with kitchen twine. Place pork into flameproof casserole or Dutch oven that is just large enough to hold it. Combine milk, water and lemon juice medium bowl pour over pork. Cover refrigerate for 24 hours, turning meat over every few hours. Remove from refrigerator about 30 minutes before cooking.

PREHEAT oven to 350° F. Remove pork from milk mixture reserve milk mixture. Pat pork dry with paper towels. Season with salt and pepper. Heat oil and butter in large skillet over medium-high heat. Brown pork on all sides. Return pork and pan drippings to milk mixture in casserole.

STIR in garlic, onion, pancetta, bay leaves, thyme, mustard and beef broth cover. BAKE for about 3 hours or until pork is tender. When done, the sauce will be reduced to curds.

TO SERVE, lift pork from dish onto warm serving platter remove string and keep warm. Skim fat from sauce and remove bay leaves. With slotted spoon, spoon a portion of sauce around pork. Place remaining sauce into gravy or sauceboat.

NOTE: If a smoother sauce is desired, carefully pour half of slightly cooled sauce in blender container cover with lid. Hold down lid with folded up towel. Blend until smooth. Repeat with remaining sauce.


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    Very much a prompt reply :)

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    So here is the story!

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