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Aglio, Olio e Peperoncino con Gamberoni, Zest and Body!
Aglio, Olio e Peperoncino is traditionally made as "the spaghettata," a dish that Italian late night revelers have after coming home in the wee hours of the morning as it's fast and easy as well as very tasty with simple, strong flavors that cut through a night of partying, and serves as a carbo load before retiring, hopefully to soak up some overindulgence while you sleep and before waking up to resume hopefully normal responsibilities the next (same?) day. Adding shrimp to this old pasta standby makes a dish that many Italian restaurants put on their menu as a main dish (technically a primo piatto because it's a pasta). My version adds a touch of mushrooms and tomato for extra body, and my favorite pasta toppping of homemade seasoned & zesty large format bread crumbs.

Another note - you'll notice the lack of cheese in this recipe. While it might look like some fresh parmesan or grated ricotta salata would be tasty on top of this dish, it would never happen in Italy. Seafood and cheese do not go together (with extreme/rare exceptions - this NOT being one of them).

Serves 6
One recipe Sam's Bread Crumbs, recipe below
1 lb. Penne Rigate
10 oz. size 25-30 frozen shrimp, thawed, shelled, deveined and sliced in half lengthwise
2 cloves garlic peeled and smashed with flat side of knife (not chopped, not pulverized) - for mushrooms
7 cloves garlic minced and divided into two parts (for pasta and for shrimp)
15 stems fresh parsley, leaves detached and woody stem discarded, chop leaves finely, plus a little extra chopped for garnish
3" stem fresh rosemary
1/2 to 2 tsp red chile flake or crushed dried hot bird chile peppers, depending on intensity and desired heat of final dish
8 oz. mixed button and crimini mushrooms, sliced
1 cup Pomi (crushed tomatoes)
3 T butter
Extra Virgin Olive Oil (affordable stuff, but not pure olive oil for this recipe)

First make bread crumbs (recipe below), reserving the lemon for later.
Cook pasta in well-salted water until al dente.
While pasta cooks, prepare sauce elements: (If you're slow or inept, maybe start the mushrooms before dumping the pasta in the water)
In medium saute pan, heat over medium heat 3 T extra virgin olive oil and the 2 smashed but whole garlic cloves until cloves just begin to brown on the edges. Add the rosemary stem, 1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp of red chile flakes for 15 seconds, then add all sliced mushrooms. Saute uncovered for about 8 minutes until mushrooms lose their water and begin to brown in pan. One minute before pasta is done, remove the rosemary stem and 2 garlic cloves (discard) and add 1 T butter and 1 cup of Pomi and stir in.
In another medium saute pan, over medium-low heat, heat 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil with half of chopped garlic until garlic begins to dry up after sizzling. Do NOT let garlic turn any shade of brown or you will have to throw this pan out and start over! Add the butter and 1/2 tsp red chile flakes (more if your chile isn't hot, or if you want more to taste). Once butter is melted, add all of the shrimp and raise heat to medium. Cook only until edges of shrimp just turn pink then add remaining chopped garlic, 1/2 tsp salt and half of the chopped parsley and stir to combine. Cook for 30 more seconds then off heat until ready to combine with pasta.
Drain pasta, reserving 1/2 cup of pasta water in a bowl or cup. Drizzle 1-2 T extra virgin olive over hot pasta sitting in strainer. Working quickly so pasta does not lose heat, return pasta to the now-empty pot, turn on heat under the pot to medium, and dump in the mushroom mixture, the shrimp, the other half of the chopped parsley and the reserved pasta water. Toss to combine and cook sauce into the pasta for about a minute, stirring gently. Taste for salt, garlic, olive oil and hot pepper strengths and adjust to your liking. The four flavors should be balanced but strong.
Serve pasta in bowls or family style in a large dish, then squeeze the zested lemon (straining out seeds) all over the pasta and sprinkle liberally and with reckless abandon and disregard for floor cleanliness the bread crumbs and extra chopped parsley leaves on top.

Sam's homemade seasoned & zesty large format bread crumbs
5 3/4" slices artigianal sourdough bread, crusts removed and toasted in 350 degree oven for 25 minutes or until dried out but not hardly browned in any way (the corners are OK)
Zest of 1 lemon (use a Microplane fine rasp grater to zest and chop in one motion)
3" stem fresh rosemary, leaves detached and woody stem discarded, chop leaves finely with other herbs
4 stems fresh parsley, leaves detached and woody stem discarded, chop leaves finely with other herbs
1 stem fresh sage, leaves detached and woody stem discarded, chop leaves finely with other herbs
Optional: 1/4 tsp powdered chipotle
2 T extra virgin olive oil
salt & pepper to taste

After toasting bread crumbs, pulse in food processor until no lumps are larger than 1/4" diameter.
Do not chop too finely.
Heat a clad skillet (do not use non-stick) over medium heat. Add olive oil and then all other ingredients.
Toast in pan, stirring occasionally over medium heat until crumbs are dried out, lightly browned all over and fragrant.
Watch carefully as the edges can burn - move the crumbs around pan so the crumbs toast, not burn.
Off heat and remove the crumbs from the very hot pan (or they will overcook/burn!) to a bowl.

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Dinner Menus by Samsunshine Levy


Fantastic NET Caesar Salad
Orange-Ginger Shrimp Ceviche
Salt Cod Brandade (Baccala/Bacalao)

Main Dishes
Chipotle Pork Posole Stew
Dover Sole (or Tilapia) "Meuniere"
Tenderloin Filet Au Poivre
Easy Summer Grilled Pizza
Aglio, Olio e Peperoncino con Gamberoni, Zest and Body!

Soup & Sides
Famous NET MAN Steamed Broccoli
Perfect & Easy Tuscan White Bean Soup
Bacon Mustard Brussel Sprouts
Creamy Polenta
Crunchy Vegetarian Quinoa Tabouli

Dark and Stormy cocktail
Homemade Santa Fe Hot Cocoa Mix now with the power of chipotle
Dark Rum Egg Nog

Apple Scone Cobbler
Nina's Birthday Cardamom Peach Cobbler
Italian Semifreddo Cassata
Rich & Dark Pecan Pie
Easy No-Bake Chocolate Pots de Creme