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This week for Cooking Around the World, a simple recipe for panna cotta to remember a local ristorante in Vogogna, one of our favorite small towns in Italy
I confess I am often a creature of habit when it comes to food. If I find something I love at a restaurant, I simply have to order it over and over and over again.
Now and then I get adventurous and try new things on the menu, but there are moments when I find a dish so delicious that I can’t talk myself into anything else.
Such was the case at the Vecchio Borgho, a restaurant/bar at the end of a narrow, cobbled street in the village of Vogogna in Italy’s Piedmont.
It’s set on a lovely spot, across the street from a wonderful old church and next to a rocky stream bed that winds down from the mountain towering behind the village.
I was in Vogogna on the first Travel Belles trip to Italy last fall. It was our first night and we were giddy with happiness at being in such a charming small town in our beloved Italy. We were also ravenous from a long day of travel.
Margo led us to the Vecchio Borgho – a place she and her daughters had frequented during their stay in Vogogna a few months before. Her rave reviews of the menu had us salivating before we even sat down.
She did not steer us wrong. From the house wine and bread to succulent grilled vegetables and seafood, everything was absolutely delectable. But nothing prepared me for dessert: panna cotta with caramel sauce.
From the first bite I was undone. I closed my eyes in sheer bliss as the silken panna cotta melted on my tongue, mingling with caramel sauce so intense it was almost bitter. I was in heaven and lingered over every glorious spoonful.
Over the next few days we returned to the Vecchio Borgho as often as our schedule allowed. No matter what I chose for a main course, my meal always ended with the caramel panna cotta. By our second appearance the waitress recited my choice along with me, chuckling at my devotion to this simple dessert.
I have not been able to exactly replicate that marvelous recipe for panna cotta, but this is the closest I’ve come thus far. Believe me, I’m going to keep on trying.
Recipe for Panna Cotta with Caramel Sauce
Vanilla Panna Cotta:
- 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 3 tbsp sugar
- 1 tsp powdered gelatin
- 1 jar caramel sauce (or make your own)
Add cream, vanilla and sugar to a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Bring to a simmer, then remove from heat and let sit for 5 to 7 minutes.
Add the powdered gelatin and return to stove top over low heat. Use a whisk to dissolve the gelatin. Don’t let it simmer. Strain the mixture through a fine sieve (this will remove any undissolved gelatin) then pour into individual ramekins. Cover with plastic wrap and chill in refrigerator until set, about 1 hour.
When ready to serve, turn out panna cotta onto dessert plates and drizzle with caramel sauce.
Note: To lighten up Krista’s recipe for panna cotta a bit, substitute half and half for heavy cream.
For more information about Vogogna, visit their official website
* All photos property of and by Krista Bjorn except for one of Vecchio Borgo sign by Margo Millure
** By popular demand: Here’s the villa rental in Vogogna where we stayed last fall.