Sunday, March 13, 2011

Yummy Eats: Panna Cotta

To me, traveling and eating go hand in hand.  I can't think of a better way to get to know a place then by experiencing its food.  My brain has recently been on Italy and my upcoming trip with my mom.  But with that months away, I thought why not bring Italy to me?  And more specifically, bring Italy to my kitchen.  

Thus you have Yummy Eats - posts about how you can bring a place to you through food.  Pick a place, pick a recipe, turn on some music to get you inspired and cook away.

First chapter: Italy.  What I love about Italian cooking is that you can take a few simple ingredients and turn them in to amazingly yummy deliciousness.  Case in point: Panna Cotta.  Cream plus sugar, vanilla and gelatin.... yummers!  It's so simple to make (and pretty hard to mess up).  Mangia!

Panna Cotta made to the soundtrack of Turnadot
Makes eight servings
4 cups (1l) heavy cream (or half-and-half)
1/2 cup (100g) sugar
2 teaspoons of vanilla extract, or 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
2 packets powdered gelatin (about 4 1/2 teaspoons)
6 tablespoons (90ml) cold water
  1. Heat the heavy cream and sugar in a saucepan or microwave. Once the sugar is dissolved, remove from heat and stir in the vanilla extract.  (If using a vanilla bean, scrape the seeds from the bean into the cream and add the bean pod. Cover, and let infuse for 30 minutes. Remove the bean then rewarm the mixture before continuing.)
  2. Lightly oil eight custard cups with a neutral-tasting oil.
  3. Sprinkle the gelatin over the cold water in a medium-sized bowl and let stand 5 to 10 minutes.
  4. Pour the very warm Panna Cotta mixture over the gelatin and stir until the gelatin is completely dissolved.
  5. Divide the Panna Cotta mixture into the prepared cups, then chill them until firm, which will take at least two hours but I let them stand at least four hours. 
You can make this recipe up to 2 days ahead. Keep well-covered and chilled.  

Thank you David Lebovitz for this amazingly simple and delicious recipe.