What’s Burning: Spaghetti con Gamberetti in Aglio, Olio e Peperoncino

Procida, Italy | ©Tom Palladio ImagesAdmit it, you’d love nothing better than to travel to southern Italy, but the purse strings are knotted a bit too tight right now for you to board an Alitalia — Always Late In Takeoffs And Landings, If Available — flight and take off for the Bel Paese.

Am I right?

Have no fear, my short-order cook alter ego, Lazy Person (LP), has a quick-‘n’-easy pasta dish that’ll have you feeling like you’re on La Penisola without ever having to leave the comfort of your Barcalounger.

Chopped garlic, red pepper and olive oil in the skillet | ©Tom Palladio ImagesTo me, nothing says “Mediterranean diet” better than olive oil, garlic and spicy red pepper.

These “three of the Ave Maria” are just straight-forward, basic ingredients found in anyone’s kitchen who hails from the lower third of the Boot across the Strait of Messina onto the island of Sicily. From these cornerstone ingredients, along with juicy vine-ripened tomatoes, pours forth authentic southern Italian cuisine.

Fresh-frozen Gamberetti | ©Tom Palladio ImagesAlong with garlic — the “Queen of the kitchen” — extra-virgin olive oil and spicy red pepper, we’ll throw in some gamberetti (small shrimp), sauté it all together and pour it over, around and through al dente strands of semolina (durum wheat flour) spaghetti No. 5.

Look, people pay good money to board a plane, sit with their knees practically in their face for hours on end, check into a hotel, and then go in search of an incredibly delicious plate of pasta like the one we’re about to create just for you.

Now, if you’ll grab an apron and your boarding pass — first class seating — our skipper (LP) is standing by in the cockpit to get this 20-min., non-stop dish underway.


Spaghetti with Gamberetti recipe graphic | ©Tom Palladio Images

Step-1: Fill a large pot with water, cover and fire it up to HIGH heat and bring it to a boil.

Gamberetti | ©Tom Palladio Images

Step-2: Peel, rinse and pat-dry the shrimp

Fresh parsley | ©Tom Palladio Images

Step-3: Rinse, dry and finely chop the parsley.

Step-4: Peel the garlic cloves and run them through a garlic press.

Chopped garlic, red pepper and olive oil in the skillet | ©Tom Palladio Images

Step-5: In a skillet, add the extra-virgin olive oil, garlic, spicy-hot red pepper and a healthy pinch of sea salt, then fire up to MEDIUM heat and stir-watch-and-stir until garlic begins to brown.

Shrimp in the skillet | ©Tom Palladio Images

Step-6: Lay in the shrimp and let them redden up a bit (about 1-min.).

Add the wine and parsley | ©Tom Palladio Images

Step-7: Add the white wine, 1/2 of the chopped parsley and continue cooking until the liquid reduces (about 4 min.). Turn off heat and wait for step-10.

Spaghetti dropped into large pasta pot

Step-8: Water is now boiling, Uncover pot, add 1 tbsp. of sea salt and the spaghetti and stir vigorously to ensure strands separate. Continue cooking for 7 min.

Step-9: Skim off 2 tbsp. of the foamy pasta water and add it to the shrimp mix in the skillet.

Sauté the Spaghetti and Shrimp | ©Tom Palladio Images

Step-10: At the 7-min. mark drain the spaghetti and place in the skillet with the shrimp mixture, fire heat back up to MEDIUM and sauté for 1-min.

Plated Spaghetti con Gamberetti in Aglio, Olio e Peperoncino  Plated Spaghetti con Gamberetti con Aglio, Olio e Peperoncino | ©Tom Palladio Images

Step-11: Plate, top each portion with a sprinkle of chopped parsley and serve.



Recommended Wine Pairing: Collio DOC Mongris Pinot GrigioMarco Felluga Winery – Gradisca D’Isonszo (GO), Italy

Felluga Winery  bottle top  Marco Felluga Collio DOC Mongris Pinot Grigio | ©Tom Palladio Images

Although the original vineyard planted its first roots back in the 1800s, the Marco Felluga Winery was formally established in 1956. Today, owner Roberto Felluga and vintner Raffaella Bruno produce some of the most splendid award-winning wines in the area thanks to a combination of their experience handling the grape, the mineral-rich soil and the estate’s close proximity to the Adriatic coast.

Marco Felluga Collio DOC Mongris Pinot Grigio | ©Tom Palladio Images  Marco Felluga Winery top & cork | ©Tom Palladio Images

A signature varietal from the Friuli Venezia Giulia region of Italy’s upper northeast, Collio DOC Mongris Pinot Grigio is golden-yellow in color with copper tones. It’s bouquet is intense and immediate with hints of acacia flowers, golden apples and rosemary. On the palate, it is elegantly fruity, full bodied and well structured with a remarkably long finish.

Spaghetti with Gamberetti front Collio DOC Mongris Pinto Grigio | ©Tom Palladio Images

Collio DOC Mongris Pinot Grigio pairs well with all types of fish-based antipasto, soups, pasta dishes and grilled main courses, but goes especially well with crustaceans and mollusks. Aside from complimenting the dinner table, Pinot Grigio is one of the Bel Paese’s preferred wines to have as a midday or early evening aperitivo (aperitif).


©The Palladian Traveler | ©Tom Palladio Images

The Palladian Traveler's Borsalino over cobblestone | ©Tom Palladio Images



  1. Your new header is “knock your socks off” beautiful. This sounds really good. Have you ever tried putting two or three chopped roma tomatoes in it? Reason why there isn’t a sprinkling of cheese?

    1. Pat (and Tina, if you’re listening) — Thanks for the “header” compliment. It was taken in Castelluccio di Norcia in the Umbria region during “la fioritura,” when all the wildflowers and poppies come to life up in the high plain.

      Now about the dish, there’s a good reason for not adding grated cheese, it’s a fish-based pasta (shrimp), so we tend to shy away from adding cheese. Sure, I could add some tomato, but I wanted to show it in its “aglio-olio-peperoncino” style. Btw, next time you reach for tomatoes to make a sauce, go for San Marzano vice the Roma.

      The great thing about recipes is that you can always add or take away as long as, in the end, it tastes good.

      Ciao for now.

    1. Hey Tina — Thanks for the thumbs-up on my floriferous header. See my comment back to Pat, as you’re sorta dovetailing with her on the subject of headers and tomatoes.

  2. And we just spent all that money going to Italy and Sicily….but it was well worth it to see all the things we saw, do all the things we did, and eat all the wonderful things we did!!!

    1. I had no idea you were going to Sicily as well. You certainly covered a lot of ground over the two weeks. I hope you were able to view the Valley of the Temples at night while in Agrigento. Welcome home.

  3. Unless things have changed, I don’t remember the spaghettis being numbered in Australia – #5 – that’s fairly fine, right? And olive oil – a tablespoon enough, or more?

    1. Meredith — For as long as I can remember, dry pastas here in Italy are numbered. This spaghetti is neither super thick nor super thin, just right for this dish requiring 8 min. to cook, but I always subtract a minute to use for the final sautéing. You’ll be using a skillet to brown up the garlic and hot pepper, so you’ll need enough to coat the bottom of the pan, 2-3 tbsp. Eye-ball it. Buona fortuna!

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