Pancetta-Wrapped Shrimp & Goat Cheese Flatbread Panini Recipe

by on June 9, 2008

Pancetta-Wrapped Shrimp & Goat Cheese Panini

You know the Kohler plumbing fixtures commercial – “Design a house around this…” and then the couple presents their architect with a rather striking faucet for inspiration. That ad came to mind as I was gearing up to create a panini recipe involving shrimp. Usually, I have a specific sandwich concept in mind at the outset but this time I decided to work “from the inside out” and let my palette be my guide. Not a bad approach, it turns out! I ended up grilling jumbo prawns inside some pancetta, balancing the saltiness with some sweet caramelized Vidalia onions and creamy goat cheese, tossing in some chopped parsley for fresh color and flavor and wrapping it all up in a crispy pita. Delicious!

Naturally sweet Vidalia onionsIt was a typical lazy Sunday afternoon for us. My husband relaxed on the couch with his Blackberry, doing his best to tune out my Paula Deen episode. Jumping, cackling baby human played a rousing game of “How Loud Can My Voice Go?” Vidalia onions sauteeing in the kitchen made the house smell like Sunday too.

Shrimp grills in just 2 minutes!Even though there was a little more prep than normal involved with these panini, it really didn’t take much time at all. I was able to multitask during the ~18 minutes while the onions caramelized. Wrapping the shrimp only took about 5 minutes and grilling them – well, if you thought grilling chicken on the panini press was lightning fast, you’ll be excited to have perfectly juicy, pink shrimp in just 2 minutes!

Let’s be real – pancetta can be some salty stuff. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing, flavor-wise. The shrimp soaks up all this great flavor, and when balanced with something sweet like these great Vidalias, the combination is wonderful. The tangy goat cheese also mellowed out the saltiness as did the fresh chopped parsley. Like with the Buffalo Chicken Panini, the grilled pita bread came out so nice and crisp on the outside and still a little soft on the inside. My husband I enjoyed this with a simple green salad last night – I hope you’ll give it a try!

Pancetta-Wrapped Shrimp & Goat Cheese Flatbread Panini

Serves 4


1 Vidalia onion, sliced into thin rings
1 tablespoon olive oil
12 jumbo shrimp, peeled, deveined, tails removed
12 slices pancetta
4 pita breads
5.5 oz package goat cheese, sliced into 1/8″ slices
Chopped fresh parsley
Salt and pepper


In a saute pan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onions, season with salt and pepper and saute for 15-20 minutes until onions are soft and caramelized.

Heat panini grill to medium-high heat (375 degrees).

Wrap each shrimp with a slice of pancetta. Place pancetta-wrapped shrimp onto the panini grill, close lid and grill approx. 2 minutes until shrimp are pink. Transfer shrimp to a plate to keep warm. Unplug grill and carefully clean grates.

Reheat panini grill to medium-high heat (375 degrees).

For each sandwich: Microwave pita bread on high for 15 seconds to make it fold more easily. Lay about 1/4 of the onions onto the lower half of the pita. Top with three shrimp, two slices of goat cheese and a sprinkling of parsley. Carefully fold the top half of the pita over the toppings to form a sandwich. Grill sandwich for 4-5 minutes until goat cheese is softened and golden grill marks appear. Serve immediately and enjoy!

If you liked this post, you might also enjoy:

>Ready to buy a panini press? Check out my Panini Press Buying Guide for the features to look for.

>Want more panini recipes? See my Recipe Index for a list of all recipes on Panini Happy.

>Traveling to a new city soon? Browse Panini Happy’s Great American Sandwich Guide to find the best sandwiches across the country!

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

1 rachel June 9, 2008 at 12:36 pm

I love the pancetta wrapped shrimp idea! YUM!


2 Elle June 11, 2008 at 1:16 pm

Dear God, please let there be one of these waiting for me on the kitchen counter when I turn round…


Looks sooo good!


3 RecipeGirl June 16, 2008 at 5:59 am

The caramelized onions have me on this one. Sounds terrific!!


4 HoneyB June 16, 2008 at 5:59 am

I am so excited to find your blog! I am always looking for new and exciting panini fillings!


5 bobby June 16, 2008 at 9:36 am

It’s funny I was just getting ready to comment on this when you dropped by my blog. So many amazing panini’s, I think I’m going to be on this site for awhile :). Shrimp, pancetta, and goat cheese… looks and sounds just amazing!


6 Kristen June 16, 2008 at 10:13 am

Oh Kathy – I am hooked on your blog and especially this recipe! Mmmmmm!


7 ziege schaf April 2, 2010 at 4:57 am

I really love goat cheese desserts, their are awesome. If I have guests, I just make goat cheese deserts and they love it. Are there any other good uses for goat cheese?


8 Chelsea August 26, 2010 at 9:42 am

Wow this blog made me stop dead in my tracks!! I love it!! This panini makes my mouth water… I’ll definitely be trying some of your recipes in the near future!


9 Kathy August 26, 2010 at 9:52 am

Thanks! Glad you found me, Chelsea! 🙂


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