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Grilled Shrimp with rosemary, garlic and pancetta

This is one of my favorite starters,and one of the easiest to make.  I am using olive oil, garlic, chili peppers and rosemary as a marinade and wrapping the shrimp in thinly sliced pancetta.  But you use any flavors that you like to marinate the shrimp, and use prosciutto, bacon, or nothing at all.  The same technique works well with scallops as well.  The recipe for this dish is:

(serves 6 to 8 as a starter)

24 large shrimp,  approximately 16/20 count per pound, shells removed, deveined, with tails on

3/4 pound thinly sliced pancetta, or bacon

6 to 8 thinly sliced cloves of garlic, do this to taste

4 to 6 stalks of fresh rosemary, chopped

1 fresh red chili, washed, seeded and chopped, do this to taste

salt and pepper to taste

extra virgin olive oil, for marinade and grilling


Add the prepared shrimp to a bowl, season with salt and pepper to taste.  Add the garlic, fresh rosemary, chili and enough extra virgin olive oil to cover.  Coat the shrimp with the marinade, cover  and refrigerate for several hours.  Stir the shrimp several times while marinating.

Preheat your grill.  You can use a grill pan, a gas or charcoal grill, or broil them in the oven.  When you are ready, remove the shrimp from the marinade and wrap them in the pancetta.  (I am using very thin pancetta.  When I use a thicker cut, or with most bacon, I partially cook it first for 4 or 5 minutes, drain on a paper towel and cool.  The shrimp cook very quickly and if you wait for the bacon to become crisp on the grill, you will probably over cook the shrimp)  Also, depending on the size of the shrimp, you may want to cut the pancetta or bacon in half.

If you are using a grill, it is a good idea to place the shrimp on a skewer.  I prefer to use two or a double skewer so you have better control of the shrimp.  Wooden skewers should kept in water for about 30 minutes before use to avoid burning.

Place the shrimp on a preheated grill, high heat with direct grilling and cook for about 2 to 4 minutes per side, turning once, until the shrimp are firm, pink and the pancetta is crisp.  Be careful to avoid over cooking the shrimp.  Your actual time may vary, depending on the temperature of your grill and the  actual shrimp you are using. Whenever I am grilling, I think the best source for timing, and some really great recipes is Steven Raichlen’s book “How to Grill: The Complete Illustrated Book of Barbecue Techniques ”.  I generally refer to it almost every time I grill.  

Remove from the grill, and skewers and serve.  Enjoy