Spaghetti Alla Chitarra With Fried Zucchini

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This was one of my mom's favorite dishes, she just loved it. While it isn't in her recipe collection I know it was one of her favorites. I used to make it this way for her whenever I was in town.

Spaghetti Alla Chitarra With Fried Zucchini.Golden brown zucchini, spaghetti alla chitarra, and Parmigiano Reggiano - exquisite!

Sliced zucchini.

Slice the zucchini into 1/4-inch / 6 mm. rounds.

Zucchini frying in a pot.

Fry the zucchini, in batches, in a single layer until both sides are golden brown.

Fried zucchini on a plate.

Beautiful golden brown zucchini.

Zucchini pasta in the pot.

Now that's Italian comfort food. "Hai fame, ancora?"

The beauty of this recipe is that it doesn't really rely on ingredient amounts. Only for the spaghetti and the zucchini but the rest are, "come voi" as the Italians say, or the way you like it.

It is at once incredibly simple and oh so good that it will have you dancing in the streets. Wash it down with a nice pino grigio, aw comfort food!

Zucchini Pasta Made With Spaghetti Alla Chitarra

  • Yield: 4 large servings
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes


  • 3 organic zucchini, cut into 1/4 inch rounds
  • Extra virgin olive oil for frying, plus extra
  • Kosher salt to taste
  • 500 grams / 1 pound spaghetti alla chitarra
  • Cracked pepper to taste
  • Freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano, to taste
  • pinch of red pepper
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons breadcrumbs, tossed in olive oil, optional


  1. Preheat oven to 150° F, then turn it off.
  2. In the pasta pot, fry the zucchini, in batches,  in a single layer until both sides are golden brown. Remove and set aside, in a warm oven.
  3. When all of the zucchini are fried toss any excess oil and fill the pot with water. That fond on the bottom of the pot is going to cook off and the pasta is going to develop a subtle zucchini flavor. Bring the water to a rolling boil, salt it liberally, and add the pasta.
  4. When the pasta is done drain it in a colander, reserving about a cup of the pasta water. Add the pasta back to the pot and add enough oil to coat the pasta liberally. Stir to coat the pasta. Next add the pasta water a little at a time. Start with about a quarter cup and stir the pasta well.
  5. Next add the Parmigiano, cracked pepper, and red pepper flakes. Stir until the cheese melts and emulsifies the sauce. Add the zucchini and stir to mix. Serve immediately.
  6. For added texture, you can add a pinch or two of breadcrumbs that have been tossed in olive oil to the top.

Dried pasta package showing IGP designation.

See the IGP designation on the package, it means, Indicazione Geografica Protetta or protected geografical information. The IGP designation guarantees a product originating from a region, or country. At least one step of production must take place in the designated origin of production for the product to qualify.


  1. This dish is a really simple plate to make. However, because there are few ingredients the success, read flavor, is entirely dependent on the quality of the ingredients.
  2. When I boil pasta I never add oil to the water. People do, with the notion that the oil will keep the pasta from sticking together, and it will. It will also coat the pasta and then the sauce will not properly adhere to the pasta. As long as your pot has sufficient volume for the pasta, and you stir the pasta occasionally you won't have a problem with pasta sticking together. The only time I make an exception to the rule is if I am going to coat the pasta in oil, as I do in this dish when I cook the pasta in the same pot that I fried the zucchini in.
  3. Why spaghetti alla chitarra? I was looking for an excellent quality imported dried spaghetti and the only choice was spaghetti alla chitarra.
  4. Spaghetti alla chitarra gets its name from the chitarra, literally guitar, that is used to make it. It comes from the Abruzzo region of Italy.