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this month's recipe: 

pancetta wrapped prawns




Recipe Author: Excerpted from The Scarpetta Cookbook, © 2013 by Scott Conant. Reproduced by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved.

Recipe Serves: 4

Photo credit: Brent Herrig


A Note from Chef Conant:

“This is a great transition dish for March. The beautiful spring vegetables are just around the corner and the deeply flavored lentils are a perfect departure from all the heavy root vegetables of winter.”
Sample Chef Conant’s cuisine for yourself at Cheftopia: The 30th Annual Chefs’ Tribute to Citymeals-on-Wheels. More than thirty chefs will gather under the stars at Rockefeller Center on June 8th as they prepare dishes inspired by tomorrow’s food trends.
pancetta wrapped prawns ingredients:
  • 8 prawns or very large shrimp (12 to 15 per pound), head-on if you like, peeled and tail removed
  • ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 sprig fresh rosemary
  • 1 clove garlic, thinly sliced
  • Pinch crushed red pepper
  • 4 ounces pancetta, sliced very thinly
  • 1 cup braised rosemary lentils (recipe follows)
  • Basil oil (recipe follows)
  • Microgreens


1. In a medium bowl, combine the olive oil, rosemary, garlic, and crushed red pepper. Add the shrimp and toss to coat. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours and up to 24 hours.
2. Remove the shrimp from the marinade and pat the excess off with paper towels. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Fill a second baking sheet with ice and nestle the parchment-lined one on top of the ice (this is to keep the pancetta cold while working with it). Put 3 to 4 strips of pancetta on the baking sheet, overlapping them slightly. Position a shrimp at one end and roll the pancetta up around the shrimp. Continue with the rest of the shrimp and pancetta.
3. Heat a large sauté pan over medium heat. In batches if necessary, cook the shrimp until the pancetta is crispy and the shrimp are just cooked through, about 2 minutes per side.
4. To serve, divide the lentils among serving plates and top with 2 shrimp. Dot some basil oil on each plate and top with a tiny handful of microgreens.
rosemary braised lentils ingredients:
  • 1 cup green lentils
  • 14 ounces canned plum tomatoes, pureed
  • ¼ cup shallots, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped finely
  • 2 tablespoons rosemary, chopped
  • Pinch chili flakes
  • Olive oil as needed
  • Salt to taste


1. Cover the lentils with cold water in a pot and season with salt.
2. Bring to a simmer and cook until al dente. Drain and reserve liquid.
3. Combine shallots, rosemary, chili flakes, and just cover with olive oil. Cook slowly until shallots are well browned.
4. Add garlic and cook until tender and starting to color.
5. Add tomatoes and cook until it thickens and darkens slightly.
6. Add lentils and finish cooking until tender, but still holding their shape. Use reserved liquid from lentils to thin out and extend cooking time if needed.
7. Season and reserve.
basil oil ingredients:
  • 2 cups fresh basil leaves
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt


1. Bring a medium saucepan of water to a rolling boil. Meanwhile, fill a medium bowl with ice water. 
2. Put the basil in the boiling water, pressing it gently under the water to submerge, and cook for 1 minute. Quickly remove the basil from the water and plunge it into the ice water. Let cool completely, then squeeze out excess water.  
3. Transfer to a blender and add the olive oil and salt. Puree on high speed for 30 seconds. Refrigerate overnight to naturally separate the oil from the solids, or, if using right away, strain through a fine-mesh strainer lined with a coffee filter.