Main dishes like turkey and ham get a lot of attention during the holidays, but more often than not, it’s the appetizers that really dazzle the taste buds and have everyone saying, “wow, I could make a whole meal out of that appetizer”! Because appetizers are such an important part of holiday hosting, we turn to flavor gurus like Rachael Ray to help plan our holiday menus. This year, you can save yourself a lot of time searching for the perfect appetizer recipe because we were lucky enough to have Rachael Ray share her mom’s shrimp with sage and pancetta recipe with us. Ray says this easy-to-make dish is “a classic” in her home. “I’ve been making it for many years and it’s still one of the most requested dishes at dinners with friends or family,” Ray said of her mom’s recipe. 

Consisting of just a handful of ingredients (most of which you probably already have) and only taking a few minutes to make, this crowd-pleasing recipe might just be the perfect holiday appetizer. Cin cin!

Mom’s Shrimp with Sage and Pancetta

Serves 4


  • 12 jumbo (16/18 count) shrimp or prawns, peeled (tails left on) and deveined
  • 1 lemon, halved
  • 1 tablespoon EVOO, plus more for liberal drizzling
  • Sea salt and pepper
  • 12 large fresh sage leaves
  • 12 slices pancetta or thinly sliced prosciutto
  • ¼ cup dry vermouth


  1. Rinse and dry the shrimp.
  2.  Dress the shrimp with the juice of one lemon half.
  3.  Cut the remaining lemon half into small wedges.
  4.  Drizzle the shrimp liberally with EVOO and season with a little salt and some pepper. 
  5. Place a sage leaf down the back of each shrimp where it has been deveined and then wrap the shrimp carefully and snugly with pancetta.
  6. In a large skillet, heat the EVOO (1 turn of the pan) over medium to medium-high heat. 
  7. Add the shrimp and cook, turning occasionally, until the pancetta is crisp and the shrimp are pink and firm, 6 to 8 minutes.
  8.  Douse the pan with the vermouth and swirl. Serve with the lemon wedges alongside.

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