Mario Batali’s strawberry panna cotta
Panna cotta, the perfect ending to a meal
Panna cotta translates to "cooked cream" in Italian. It is a custard-like dessert made of cream and gelatin, that is topped with fresh fruit. Once you have made panna cotta, and see how easy and fool-proof it is to make, you will want to experiment with all kinds of fruit and flavor variations.
Mario Batali's panna cotta
This panna cotta is Mario Batali's recipe from Pó Restaurant in New York City. The recipe was published in Bon Appétit in April 2002. It was good then and it is still good today! Unlike most panna cotta, this version has a bit of yogurt that gives it a little tang. I add a split vanilla bean to the custard. It punches up the vanilla flavor, and I'm a sucker for any dessert with little flecks of vanilla seed. The fresh strawberry topping is flavored with balsamic vinegar and pepper, giving it a sweet-tart-peppery yumminess, that goes wonderfully with the creamy panne cotta.
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The best part of panna cotta is it is very easy to make. The key is planning ahead as panna cotta must be made at least 3 hours in advance to give the custard time to set.
You can pour the panna cotta mixture into 3/4 cup individual ramekins. When the custard has set unmold them onto individual plates and top with strawberries when you are ready to serve. Or skip the unmolding and pour the liquid panna cotta mixture into decorative glasses. When the panna cotta has set, top with strawberry mixture. Try wine glasses, teacups, small mason jars or any interesting glassware.
- 2 T water
- 1½ t unflavored gelatin
- 1 vanilla bean
- 2 cups whipping cream, divided
- 1¼ cup greek style plain yogurt
- ½ cup sugar
- 2 pints strawberries, hulled and thinly sliced
- 3 T good quality balsamic vinegar
- 1 T sugar
- Fresh ground pepper, to taste
- Put water in a small bowl and sprinkle with gelatin. Set aside for 15 minutes until softened.
- In a large bowl, whisk 1 cup whipping cream and yogurt together. Set aside.
- Over medium heat, put remaining cream and ½ cup sugar in a small sauce pan. Split vanilla bean and scrape out seeds with a spoon. Add the seeds and the bean to the pan. Stir until sugar is dissolved and cream begins to simmer. Remove from heat and remove vanilla bean.
- Add the gelatin to the hot cream pan mixture and stir to dissolve the gelatin into the cream. Add hot cream and gelatin mixture to bowl of cream and yogurt, and stir to combine. Divide mixture into individual serving cups, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 3 hours or overnight.
- minutes before serving, gently toss strawberries, vinegar, 1 T sugar and fresh ground pepper to combine. Spoon over panna cotta when ready to serve.