Thursday, March 20, 2008

Festa Italiana

I love Italian food. But it's really difficult to say which particular dish is my favorite. My most memorable Italian experience happened when I was in high school. My family took a summer trip down to Mexico City, and I remember going to an interesting hacienda-like restaurant outside the city. My entree was canneloni -- tender pasta tubes filled with spinach and a minced meat (chicken, perhap?) and covered with a rich bechamel sauce. I've never found canneloni since that matched that one. During the last several years, though, I discovered a new Italian dish that has become one of my all-time favorites: panna cotta. I've written other posts on this dessert, and no matter where in the world I may be, if it is on the menu, I will order it. Sort of like a benchmark. Maryann at Finding La Dolce Vita and Marie at Proud Italian Cook decided to host an Italian Festival this month and I thought a new panna cotta recipe would be a perfect complement to the traditional main dishes. Here's my submission to Festa Italiana.



Neopolitan Panna Cotta

(from Panna Cotta by Camilla V. Saulsbury)


Milk chocolate layer:

Place 2 tablespoons water in a small bowl. Sprinkle 1 teaspoon gelatin over the water and let stand 5 minutes to soften.

In a heavy, small saucepan, bring 1 1/2 cups heavy cream and 2 tablespoons sugar to a bare simmer over moderate heat, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Whisk in 2 ounces of chopped semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, whisking until chocolate is melted. Add the gelatin mixture, whisking until dissolved. Pour or ladle into 6 large martini glasses. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and chill until set, about 1 hours.

Vanilla layer:

Place 2 tablespoons water in a small bowl. Sprinkle 1 teaspoon gelatin over the water and let stand 5 minutes to soften.

In a heavy, small saucepan, bring 1 2/3 cups heavy cream and 3 1/2 tablespoons sugar to a bare simmer over moderate heat, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Whisk in 1 teaspoon vanilla and the gelatin mixture, whisking until dissolved. Pour or ladle the vanilla mixture on top of the chocolate mixture. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and chill at least 2 hours to set.

Strawberry sauce:

Puree 1 pint of strawberries and 1 to 2 tablespoons sugar. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

To serve, spoon strawberry sauce on top of the vanilla panna cotta layer.

Makes 6 servings.


4 comments:

Proud Italian Cook said...

Judy, Thank you for joining us with this beautiful dish! What a great addition to our Festa table!

Karina said...

That looks delicious! I've never had panna cotta before, it sounds tasty. I also love your martini glasses.

Maryann said...

Wonderful! Beautiful! Creamy! Delicious!
Thanks for joining us at our festa Italiana, Judy :)

Deborah said...

That is a gorgeous panna cotta!!