Spaghetti with Pan-Fried Zucchini
Shishito Pepper Pesto
Inspired by Bobby Flay’s Amalfi Restaurant on the Las Vegas Strip
Bobby Flay’s stellar new restaurant at Caesars Palace is where he brings flavors of the Amalfi Coast to the Las Vegas Strip.
We had an absolutely delightful meal there recently…and would have tried even more fabulous dishes if we had room. Our server informed us that the Spaghetti Zucchine is one of the most popular pastas at the restaurant. The Chef wrote on Instagram that it has become the most requested pasta dish at his house.
Unable to fit in another pasta that night (we had the Caramelle and Pasta Rags, both excellent), I just had to try the Spaghetti Zucchine at home.
Amalfi by Bobby Flay
Spaghetti alla Nerano is named for the charming beach town on the Amalfi Coast where it was invented at Ristorante Maria Grazia in 1952. The technique and exact ingredients in this legendary pasta dish remain somewhat of a mystery but most believe it is made with zucchini, local provolone, garlic, basil, olive oil, butter, salt and pepper.
Bobby Flay says of his Spaghetti Zucchine recipe, “This dish is total inspiration from my memories on the Amalfi Coast in Southern Italy… The pesto idea is from a beach shack called Da Adolfo.” Unlike the original, the Chef adds a shishito pepper pesto.
The recipe here is my interpretation of Bobby Flay’s interpretation of that famous spaghetti dish he enjoyed on the Amalfi Coast and now serves in his restaurant in Las Vegas.
Spaghetti with Zucchini and Shishito Pesto Inspired by Bobby Flay
- 8 oz. shishito peppers
- 3/4 c. basil, tightly packed
- 1 or 2 garlic cloves, smashed
- 1/4 c. pinenuts
- 1/4 t. kosher salt
- a few grinds of fresh ground pepper
- 3/8 c. olive oil (or more if needed)
- 1/3 c. grated parmesan
Cut the stems off the shishito peppers. Cut the peppers in half and remove the membranes and seeds. Steam the peppers in a covered steamer basket over boiling water for about 6 to 7 minutes. Let peppers cool to room temperature.
In the bowl of a food processor – blend steamed peppers, basil, garlic, pinenuts, salt and pepper. Once blended, scrape down the sides of the bowl and stream in the olive oil. Add Parmesan and blend briefly to combine. Taste for seasoning.
- 2 medium zucchini
- kosher salt
- oil for frying (we like avocado/olive oil blend)
Slice zucchini into thin wheels. Spread zucchini wheels on a baking sheet lined with paper towels. Sprinkle salt over zucchini. Cover with another paper towel. Let sit for 20 to 30 minutes to draw out moisture.
Remove zucchini to a colander and rinse off the salt. Place again on baking sheet with dry paper towels. Blot water off the zucchini.
In a large bowl, toss dry zucchini with cornstarch to lightly coat each wheel.
Pan-fry zucchini in batches, in a large frying pan in oil until areas are partially browned. Drain on clean paper towels.
- 1/2 lb. spaghetti, cooked al dente
- 1 T. unsalted butter
- 1/2 c. reserved hot pasta water (or as needed)
- small or torn basil leaves
- grated parmesan
Place hot pasta water in a large sauté pan. Add butter to melt. Then blend in the pesto to form a creamy texture. Add spaghetti to the pan and toss with pesto to coat completely. Fold in half of the pan-fried zucchini.
Plate the spaghetti including plenty of sauce. Top with the other half of the pan-fried zucchini, basil leaves, and Parmesan.
Las Vegas Insider Tip
The crispy, golden, airy focaccia is not on the menu. Nor is it offered by your server. We were told that they do not have the capacity to make enough for an entire service, so it is a secret. You must ask for it. Make sure you do!
Interesting Pesto Recipes
Intrigued by Shishito Pepper Pesto? Try these too:
Arugula Pesto here
Dandelion Pesto here
Carrot Top Pesto here
Cilantro Dill Pesto here
Kale Cilantro Pesto here
Kale Pesto by Nicole Putzel here